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Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS)

The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS) 2012–13 collects information from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. It combines the existing ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey together with two new elements—a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey and a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey.

Further information is available at Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2012-13.

Australian Health Survey (AHS)

The ABS Australian Health Survey 2011–13 collected population level data that combined the existing National Health Survey together with a National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey and a National Health Measures Survey.

Further information is available at Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13.

Census of Population and Housing (Census)

The Census uses the standard Indigenous status question and it is asked for each household member.

There are 4 principal sources of error in Census data: respondent error, processing error, partial response and undercount. Quality management of the Census programme aims to reduce error as much as possible, and to provide a measure of the remaining error to data users, to allow them to use the data in an informed way.

The Census form may be completed by one household member on behalf of others. Incorrect answers can be introduced to the Census form if the respondent does not understand the question or does not know the correct information about other household members. Many of these errors remain in the final data.

The processing of information from Census forms is now mostly automated. Quality assurance procedures are used during Census processing to ensure processing errors are minimised. Sample checking is undertaken during coding operations, and corrections are made where necessary.

When completing their Census form, some people do not answer all the questions that apply to them. In these instances, a ‘not stated’ code is allocated during processing, with the exception of non-response to age, sex, marital status and place of usual residence. These variables are needed for population estimates, so they are imputed using other information on the Census form, as well as information from the previous Census.

Other Census data issues relate to the accuracy of the Census count itself, e.g. whether people are counted more than once, or not at all.

The significant volatility in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Census counts and the variable quality of data on births, deaths and migration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples do not support the use of the standard approach to population estimation. Due to the inherent uncertainties in estimating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, data which use these estimates should be interpreted with caution (e.g. life expectancy estimates, mortality rates). Given these uncertainties, changes in health outcomes such as mortality rates are difficult to assess.

Following each Census, assumptions are made about past levels of mortality to produce back cast population estimates.

Data from the 2016 Census are reported. The 2016 Census was Australia's 17th national Census of Population and Housing and the first Census to be digital first, with more than 95% of Australians participating. The 2016 Census shows a growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples represented 2.8 per cent of the population counted in the 2016 Census – up from 2.5 per cent in 2011, and 2.3 per cent in 2006.

Further information about the nature of the Census is available at Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016. More information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates from the 2016 Census is available at Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

General Social Survey (GSS)

The ABS conducted the fourth General Social Survey in 2014 for Australians aged 15 and over. The survey collected data on social characteristics, wellbeing and social experiences of people in Australia. The 2014 survey is the fourth in the series, with the first survey conducted in 2002, and again in 2006 and 2010. Further information on the 2014 GSS is available at General Social Survey 2014: Summary Results, Australia.

Note that while the ABS released the results of the 2019 GSS survey (fifth in the series) in September 2020, the 2019 data was not available in time for inclusion in this report. Further information on the 2019 GSS is available at General Social Survey 2019: Summary Results, Australia.

Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Estimates of life expectancy are drawn from life tables published by the ABS, which are based on analysis of population data from the Census, along with mortality and births data from their respective collections. The ABS collection contains state, territory and Australian life tables for males and females for the reference period. It also contains life expectancy at birth estimates. A life table is a statistical model used to represent mortality of a population, and require complete and accurate data on the average number of deaths that occur in a period, and reliable estimates of the population. There exists data quality issues for both death registration and population data for Indigenous Australians, together these present particular methodological challenges to compiling high quality life tables and making comparisons over time.

Further information is available at Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Mortality collections

Causes of Death collection

The ABS Deaths and Causes of Death collection includes all deaths that occurred and were registered in Australia, including deaths of persons whose usual residence is overseas. Deaths of Australian residents that occurred outside Australia may be registered by individual Registrars, but are not included in ABS mortality statistics.

Further information is available at Causes of Death, Australia methodology.

ABS Perinatal Deaths collection

The ABS Perinatal Deaths collection includes all registered fetal and neonatal deaths, which are sourced through jurisdictional Registries of Births Deaths and Marriages. This scope differs from other Australian data sources on perinatal deaths which do not use the registration system to collate data on perinatal deaths. For example, the National Perinatal Mortality Data Collection (NPMDC) coordinated by the AIHW are sourced from health systems, including clinical records. The ABS perinatal dataset is affected by delayed registrations which results in an under count of perinatal deaths, especially those of fetal deaths. Caution should be taken when interpreting this data and comparisons to other data sources including the NPMDC should not be made.

The scope of the perinatal deaths includes all registered fetal deaths (at least 20 weeks' gestation or at least 400 grams' birth weight) and all registered neonatal deaths (all live born babies who die within 28 completed days of birth, regardless of gestation or birth weight). The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of a perinatal death differs to that used by the ABS. The WHO definition includes all neonatal deaths, and those fetuses weighing at least 500 grams or having a gestational age of at least 22 weeks, or body length of 25 centimetres from crown to heel.

Further information is available at Causes of Death, Australia methodology.

Data quality concerns for ABS mortality collections

The count of deaths for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be influenced by the accuracy of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, late registration of deaths, as a result of coronial inquiry, and changes to death forms and/or processing systems. Due to the small size of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, these factors can significantly impact on trends over time and between jurisdictions.

A number of deaths occur each year for which the Indigenous status is not stated on the death registration form—0.7% of all deaths registered in 2018. Thus, there may be some degree of under-identification of Indigenous Australians in mortality data. Further information is available at Causes of Death, Australia methodology.

Mortality rates use the count of deaths in the numerator and population estimates in the denominator. Analysis of trends in mortality rates is therefore also influenced by the assumptions made about mortality in the population backcast and projections which is somewhat circular. Moreover, estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at 30 June 2016 (based on the 2016 Census) are 19% larger than those at 30 June 2011 (based on the 2011 Census). As a consequence, the use of this 2016 ERP base for backcasting introduces uncertainty to the historical population estimates. The uncertainty increases as the time from the base year increases. The ABS advises that the backcast population estimates prior to 2016 should be used with caution, especially for years prior to 2006. More information is available from the data sources and quality entry for the Census of Population and Housing (Census).

The AIHW has also developed an Enhanced Mortality Database by linking death registration records to several additional data sources that contain information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths— further information is available in the Data development section.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) 2018–19 is the largest health survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) between July 2018 and April 2019. This survey collected information on a range of topics including long-term health conditions, disability, lifestyle factors, physical harm and use of health services. It collected information from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages in non-remote and remote areas of Australia, including discrete Indigenous communities.

The NATSIHS included a fully or adequately responding sample of just over 10,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from about 6,500 private dwellings. Physical measurements of height, weight and waist circumference were collected from respondents aged two years and over except women who advised that they were pregnant, and was a voluntary component of the survey. Voluntary blood pressure measurements were also collected from respondents aged 18 years and over.

Survey results are subject to sampling errors as only a small proportion of the population is used to produce estimates that represent the whole population—see RSE in the Statistical terms and methods section. Non-sampling errors may occur where there is non-response to the survey or questions in the survey, misunderstanding of questions or errors in recording, coding or processing the survey. Information recorded in this survey is ‘as reported’ by respondents. Responses may be affected by imperfect recall or individual interpretation of survey questions. Any data that are self-reported are also likely to underestimate circumstances about which the respondent is unaware, or may be reluctant to report (for example, certain health conditions, weight, drug use).

Selected non-Indigenous comparisons are available from the 2017–18 National Health Survey (NHS). Time series comparisons for some indicators are available from the 2014–15 NATSISS, 2012–13 AATSIHS, 2008 NATISS, 2004–05 NATSIHS, 2002 NATSISS, 2001 NHS and the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS).

Further information is available at National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) 2014–15 is the fourth social survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians conducted by the ABS from September 2014 to June 2015. Information was collected by personal interview from approximately 11,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in private dwellings in both non-remote and remote parts of Australia on a range of demographic, social, environmental and economic characteristics. The NATSISS sample was specifically designed to select a representative sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The NATSISS uses the standard Indigenous status question to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households from which the sampling process is then undertaken. Information recorded in this survey is ‘as reported’ by respondents, or from child proxies (usually parents), on behalf of selected children aged 0–14 years. Data may differ from those that might be obtained from other sources or by using other collection methodologies. Responses may also be affected by imperfect recall or individual interpretation of survey questions.

Where possible, the ABS provided recommendations for non-Indigenous data comparisons (such as the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey and the 2014 General Social Survey) and these have been adopted in this report. Further details are available at NATSISS 2014–15: Appendix 2. Time series comparisons for some indicators are available from the 2018–19 NATSIHS, 2012–13 AATSIHS, 2004–05 NATSIHS, 2002 and 2008 NATSISS and the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS), although not all data elements align across the 3 surveys.

Further information is available at National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: User Guide, 2014-15.

National Health Survey (NHS)

The 2017–18 National Health Survey is the most recent in a series of Australia-wide health surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The survey was designed to collect a range of information about the health of Australians, including prevalence of long-term health conditions, health risk factors and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

The survey was conducted in all states and territories and across urban, rural and remote areas of Australia (excluding very remote areas and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities) from July 2017 to June 2018. The survey included approximately 21,300 people in 16,400 private dwellings.

Previous surveys were conducted in 2014–15, 2011–12, 2007–08, 2004–05, 2001, 1995, and 1989–90.

Further information is available at About the National Health Survey and National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2017-18.

National Prisoner Census

The National Prisoner Census collects information about adult prisoners held in custody in Australian prisons each year. The dataset records include characteristics of prisoners, their sentence length and the most serious offence/charge for which offenders are imprisoned. Data are collected by the ABS from administrative records held by corrective service agencies in each state and territory.

Further information is available at Prisoners in Australia, 2019.

National Schools Statistics Collection

The National Schools Statistics Collection is a collaboration between state, territory and Australian Government education departments and the ABS through the annual Schools Census. Data is collected on the characteristics of schools, students and staff from establishments which provide primary, secondary or special education.

Further information is available at Schools, Australia methodology.

Patient Experience Survey

The Patient Experience Survey, as a topic on the Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) which is undertaken each financial year by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), is a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to collect statistics for a number of small, self-contained topics.

The survey collected information from people aged 15 years and over about their experiences with selected aspects of the health system in the 12 months before their interview, including access and barriers to a range of health care services. Respondents were asked about their experiences with medical professionals, the frequency of their visits, waiting times, and barriers to accessing care, as well as their self-assessed health status, long term health conditions and private insurance.

Further information is available at Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings methodology.

Survey of Education and Work (SEW)

The Survey of Education and Work (SEW) provides data on educational participation, highest attainment, transition from education to work, and labour force and demographic characteristics. Data are collected through the annual ABS household survey program. The scope of this survey is for people aged 15–74, but does not include those in Indigenous communities or institutional settings, among other locations.

Further information is available at Education and Work, Australia methodology.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS)

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS) is a collection of data from publicly funded treatment services in all states and territories, including those directly funded by DoH. Publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies collect the agreed data items, and are responsible for ensuring that the required information is accurately recorded. For each treatment episode, data are collected on client demographics, drug of concern and whether client is receiving treatment for their own or someone else’s drug use, among other elements. National data are affected by variations in service structures and collection practices between states and territories; these should be considered when making comparisons between jurisdictions.

The data quality statement for the AODTS NMDS is available at Alcohol and other drug treatment services NMDS, 2017–18; Quality Statement.

Australia Cancer Database (ACD)

The Australian Cancer Database (ACD) is a database of all primary cancers diagnosed in Australia since 1 January 1982. It is compiled at the AIHW from data provided annually by the state and territory population-based cancer registries. The cancer registries compile data on all cancer diagnoses in their jurisdiction from a variety of sources such as hospitals, pathology laboratories and registries of births, deaths and marriages. The ACD is used to report national cancer statistics such as incidence, survival and prevalence.

In the HPF, data are only presented for NSW, Qld, WA and NT. Victorian data have not been presented because of discrepancies in cancer incidence rates compared to these 4 jurisdictions. This may reflect differences in the number of data sources used to determine Indigenous status. Work is planned on validation of Indigenous status in Victorian cancer data. Data are not presented for SA, Tas or ACT because the Indigenous status variable is not of sufficient quality in these jurisdictions.

The latest data quality statement for the ACD is available at Australian Cancer Database, 2016; Quality Statement.

Australian National Infant Feeding Survey

The National Infant Feeding Survey provides self-reported data on infant feeding practices and related attitudes and behaviours, including prevalence and duration of breastfeeding. The survey sampled from mothers and carers in Australia, but no further collections have occurred since 2010.

Further information is available at 2010 Australian national infant feeding survey: indicator results.

BreastScreen Australia data

BreastScreen Australia data are sourced from the BreastScreen register in each state and territory and compiled into a national database by the AIHW each year. A relatively small amount of screening mammography occurs through services other than BreastScreen Australia, which are not within the scope of these data. For each period presented (two calendar years), rates are the number of women screened as a percentage of the eligible female population, calculated as the average of each year’s ABS estimated resident population. Age-standardised rates are directly age-standardised to the Australian 2001 standard population. Indigenous status is self-reported; therefore, accuracy of Indigenous participation rates will be affected if women choose not to identify as Indigenous at the time of screening.

The data quality statement for BreastScreen Australia data is available at BreastScreen Australia data 2017–2018; Quality Statement.

Child Dental Health Survey

States and territories provide subsidised dental care to school-aged children, usually through a school dental service. Each participating jurisdiction provides data annually to the AIHW, although the collection has ceased as of 2010.

The latest data quality statement is available at Child Dental Health Survey 2010.

Child Health Check Initiative Closing the Gap (CHCI (CtG)) program

The Child Health Check Initiative (CHCI) provided health checks to Indigenous children in prescribed areas of the Northern Territory between August 2007 and June 2009. From July 2009, these services were continued under the Closing the Gap (CtG) in the Northern Territory National Partnership Agreement. These two programs, spanning August 2007 to June 2012, are collectively referred to as the CHCI (CtG), which provides data collections for audiological, ENT and dental issues and service provision. Information in these three data collections include details of the client, date of service, findings of assessments, recommendations for follow ups and services provided. The Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory program took over the provision of hearing and oral health services and data collections from July 2012, expanding beyond the prescribed areas of the CHCI (CtG).

Further information is available at NTER CHCI: follow-up services for oral and ear health: final report, 2007-2012. The data quality statement for the CHCI is available at Child Health Check Initiative (CHCI) data collections, QS.

Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (DS NMDS)

All states and territories and the Department of Social Services collect data on the disability services provided under the National Disability Agreement. This is compiled by the AIHW into the annual Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (DS NMDS). Some outlets do not report on all service users, and it is not possible to accurately estimate the missing number of service users.

The latest data quality statement for the DS NMDS is available at Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (DS NMDS) - Data Quality Statement.

Health Expenditure database

The AIHW draws upon both expenditure data and service use data to prepare Indigenous health expenditure estimates. Data are compiled annually from a range of government and non-government sources. Due to changes in data specifications and methods, data from the Health Expenditure Database reported in this publication and those in previous HPF reports (and updated Health Expenditure Australia reports) are not comparable.

The data quality statement for the AIHW Health Expenditure database is available at Health expenditure database 2015–16; Quality Statement.

 National Child Protection Data Collection

The states and territories provide annual data to the AIHW across several broad components of child protection: clients; notifications, investigations and substantiations; care and protection orders; out of home care; foster carers; relative/kinship carers households, including foster and relative/kinship carers; intensive family support services; and national standards for out of home care.

The latest data quality statement for the National Child Protection Data Collection is available at Child Protection National Minimum Dataset, 2017–18 Data Quality Statement.

National Community Mental Health Care Database (NCMHCD)

The National Community Mental Health Care Database (NCMHCD) contains data on community (also sometimes termed ‘ambulatory’) mental health service contacts provided by government-funded community mental health care services. Indigenous status data in the NCMHCD should be interpreted with caution due to the varying quality of Indigenous identification across jurisdictions reporting to the database. Data elements in the collection include demographic characteristics of patients, clinical information, principal diagnosis and mental health legal status, and service provision.

The data quality statement for the NCMHCD is available at Community mental health care NMDS 2017–18: National Community Mental Health Care Database, 2019; Quality Statement.

National Elective Surgery Waiting Times Data Collection (NESWTDC)

The National Elective Surgery Waiting Times Data Collection (NESWTDC) contains record information for patients removed from waiting lists for elective surgery which are managed by public acute hospitals, whether as by an elective or emergency case. This data includes private patients treated in public hospitals, and may include public patients treated in private hospitals. In 2015–16, the NESWTDC covered about 94% of elective surgery in Australian public hospitals—excluding data from the ACT. Data is reported by usual residence of the patient, not by location of the hospital. The collection is compiled by the AIHW from data supplied by the state and territory health authorities.

The latest data quality statement for the NESWTDC is available at National Healthcare Agreement: PI 20a-Waiting times for elective surgery: waiting time in days, 2018 QS.

National Hospital Morbidity Data (NHMD)

This data collection includes all completed admitted patient episodes in public and private hospitals across Australia. For 2016–17, almost all public hospitals provided data for the NHMD. The exception was a mothercraft hospital in the ACT. The great majority of private hospitals also provided data, the exceptions being the private free-standing day hospital facilities in the ACT, the single private free-standing day hospital in the NT, and a private free-standing day hospital in Victoria.

Caution needs to be taken with comparison over time for some conditions due to changes in admission practices over the reporting period in some jurisdictions, coding changes or care type changes. Further information can be found in Chapter 2 and Appendix A: Data quality statement in Admitted patient care 2017–18.

The number and pattern of hospitalisations can be affected by differing admission practices among the jurisdictions and from year to year, and differing levels and patterns of service delivery. Some jurisdictions have slightly different approaches to the collection and storage of the standard Indigenous status question and categories in their hospital collections. The incompleteness of Indigenous identification means the number of hospital separations recorded as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander is an underestimate of hospitalisations involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Between 2006 and 2008, the AIHW completed an assessment of the level of Indigenous under-identification in selected public hospitals in all states and territories. Results from this assessment indicated that NSW, Vic, Qld, WA, SA and the NT have adequate Indigenous identification (20% or less overall under-identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients) in their hospital separations data. Historically, Indigenous hospitalisation data from 1998 was reported only for the four jurisdictions with the best quality identification (NT, WA, SA and Qld). In 2011–12, the AIHW completed another study to re‑assess the level of under-identification in public hospitals data. The study found that all jurisdictions now have sufficient quality Indigenous identification for reporting and a correction factor of 1.09 is used at the national level to adjust for under‑identification in hospital data.

Interpretation of results should take into account the relative quality of the data from the jurisdictions. Time series analyses may be affected by changes in the quality of Indigenous identification over time. An AIHW study estimated that 89% of Indigenous patients were correctly identified in Australian public hospital admission records in 2007–08, see Indigenous identification in hospital separations: quality report (2010) for more information. A more recent study of public hospital data from 2011–12 found no statistically significant change in identification rates at the national level, although there were some changes at the jurisdictional level , see Indigenous identification in hospital separations data: quality report  (2013) for more information. Time series presentations in this report include data from both public and private hospitals across several jurisdictions, so the overall effect of changes in Indigenous identification over time is unclear. This should be taken into account when interpreting time series data.

Between 2009–10 and 2010–11, there were significant changes in the coding of diagnoses for diabetes and obstetrics and for imaging procedures. There were also significant changes made to coding practices for diabetes and related conditions for the 2012–13 year, resulting in increased counts for these conditions. There have also been changes in the hepatitis coding. Caution should be used in comparing 2011–12 and 2012–13 data with data from previous HPF reports. For more information about these comparability issues, please refer to the Quality Statement for the National Hospital Morbidity Database 2012-13

Hospitalisations for which the Indigenous status of the patient was not reported are excluded from hospitalisations data for non-Indigenous Australians.

The data quality statement for the NHMD Admitted Patient Care 2016–17 is available at Data quality statement: Admitted Patient Care 2016-17.

National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care data collection (nKPI)

Under the National Indigenous Reform Agreement, the Australian Government with the state and territory governments, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the AIHW were given the responsibility to develop, national key performance Indicators for Indigenous-specific primary health care organisations. Data are collected from over 200 primary health care organisations receiving funding from the Department of Health under the Indigenous Australians Health Programme (IAHP) to provide services primarily to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Information on data quality for the nKPI collection is available at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific primary health care: results from the OSR and nKPI collections.

National Mental Health Establishments Database (NMHED)

The National Mental Health Establishments Database (NMHED) contains data on specialised mental health care services managed or funded by state or territory health authorities in Australia. The NMHED includes information on the characteristics of specialised mental health services (for example, program type and target populations) and summary information on their expenditure, staffing and activity (for example, patient days, available beds, separations, service contacts and episodes). Data are collected and reported on by the AIHW.

The data quality statement for the NMHED is available at Mental Health Establishments NMDS 2017–18: National Mental Health Establishments Database, 2020; Quality Statement.

National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NNAPEDCD)

The National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NNAPEDCD) is a compilation of episode-level data for emergency department presentations in public hospitals. States and territories were able to provide data for the NNAPEDCD using either the Non-admitted patient emergency department care National Minimum Data Set (NAPEDC NMDS) or the NAPEDC Data Set Specification (DSS). The quality of the data reported for Indigenous status has not been formally assessed; therefore, caution should be exercised when interpreting these data.

The latest data quality statement for the NNAPEDCD is available at National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database 2015–16; Quality Statement.

National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection (NOPSAD)

The National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data (NOPSAD) collection comprises data (a mix of survey and administrative) collected by state and territory health departments about opioid pharmacotherapy clients, prescribers and dosing points. The NOPSAD collection includes information on three opioid pharmacotherapy drugs used for treating opioid dependence—methadone, buprenorphine and buprenorphine-naloxone. Indigenous status of client was reported for the first time in 2018 by Western Australia, while in Victoria Indigenous status of clients is only reported as a total proportion, so cannot be included for analysis with disaggregation by Indigenous status.

The data quality statement for the NOPSAD is available at National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection, 2018; Quality Statement.

National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC)

The National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC) is a national collection of data on pregnancy and childbirth. The data are based on births reported to the perinatal data collection in each state and territory in Australia. Midwives and other birth attendants complete notification forms for each birth. A standard de-identified extract is provided to the AIHW on an annual basis to form the NPDC.

The scope of the NPDC includes all births in Australia in hospitals, birth centres and the community. The data set includes both live births and stillbirths, where gestational age is at least 20 weeks or birthweight is at least 400 grams (except in Victoria and Western Australia, where births are included if gestational age is at least 20 weeks or, if gestation is unknown, birthweight is at least 400 grams). The NPDC includes a subset of data items that form the Perinatal National Minimum Data Set (NMDS). An NMDS is an agreed set of standardised data elements for mandatory supply by states and territories to support national reporting.

Jurisdictional level data in the HPF are based on place of mother’s usual residence rather than place where birth occurred.

The NPDC includes information on the Indigenous status of the mother and baby. Since 2005, all jurisdictions have collected information on Indigenous status of the mother in accordance with the Perinatal NMDS. Indigenous status of the baby was added to the Perinatal NMDS from July 2012. Numbers are small in jurisdictions such as ACT and Tasmania and therefore need to be interpreted with caution.

Studies in Australia linking perinatal data with birth registration data and hospital admissions show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data are under-reported (Taylor, 2000; Comino, 2007; Kennedy, 2009). In 2007, the AIHW completed an assessment of the quality of Indigenous status information in perinatal data in each state and territory. This involved a survey that was sent to the midwifery managers across Australia to determine how many hospitals in each jurisdiction obtain Indigenous status information of mothers giving birth from admission records and how many collect this information independently. The assessment also involved analysis of the variability in the number and proportion of mothers recorded as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in the perinatal data collection over time and across jurisdictions for the period 1991–2004. The outcomes of this assessment showed that Indigenous status data from NSW, Vic, Qld, WA, SA and the NT were suitable for trend analysis and national reporting for this period. Data on maternal Indigenous status were not available from Tasmania until 2005 and data are variable in the years prior to 2011. Tasmanian data from 2011 onwards will be included in the next data update. Due to small population size, data by Indigenous status from the ACT are not considered reliable enough to include in trend analysis at the jurisdiction level.

All jurisdictions are working towards improving the quality of Indigenous status in perinatal data collections. States and territories agreed to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data collection procedures in key data collections including implementation of the Best Practice Guidelines for the collection of Indigenous status in health data sets.

Nationally consistent data items on smoking during pregnancy, gestational age at first antenatal visit, and Indigenous status of the baby have been added to the Perinatal NMDS from 1 July 2009, 1 July 2010, and 1 July 2012, respectively. A data item on number of antenatal visits was included in the Perinatal NMDS from 1 July 2013, although Victorian data has only been available from 1 January 2016. Data items on alcohol use during pregnancy have been added to the Perinatal National Best Endeavours Data Set (NBEDS), from 1 July 2019.

Analysis of perinatal data between jurisdictions and over time requires some caution due to definitional changes, changing models of care (e.g. antenatal care being increasingly provided outside of hospitals) and changes to reporting systems.

The data quality statement for the NPDC 2017 is available at National Perinatal Data Collection, 2017: Quality Statement.

National Prisoner Health Data Collection

The National Prisoner Health Data Collection contains self-reported data relating to people entering prison, people about to be released from prison, clinic visits and services and medications taken by prisoners. The collection is limited to currently participating jurisdictions, and to detainees who consent to contributing to the collection. Data are collected over a two week period and sent to the AIHW for reporting.

The data quality statement for the National Prisoner Health Data Collection is available at Prisoner Health NBEDS, 2015; Quality Statement.

National Public Hospitals Establishment Database

The National Public Hospital Establishments Database (NPHED) is based on the National Minimum Data Set for Public Hospital Establishments (PHE NMDS). It holds establishment level data for each public hospital in Australia, including public acute hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, drug and alcohol hospitals and dental hospitals in all states and territories.

The data quality statement for the PHE NMDS is available at Public hospital establishments NMDS 2016–17.

National Residential Mental Health Care Database (NRMHCD)

The National Residential Mental Health Care Database (NRMHCD) contains data on episodes of residential care provided by government-funded, 24-hour staffed, residential mental health services in Australia. Indigenous status data in the NRMHCD should be interpreted with caution due to the varying quality of Indigenous identification. Data elements in the collection include demographic characteristics of patients and clinical information such as principal diagnosis and mental health legal status.

The latest data quality statement for the NRMHCD is available at Residential mental health care NMDS 2017–18: National Residential Mental Health Care Database, 2019; Quality Statement.

National Rheumatic Heart Disease data collection

The National Rheumatic Heart Disease data collection, held by the AIHW, contains data on diagnoses of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Australia. It is a collation of data from ARF/RHD clinical registers held by certain states and territories in which ARF and/or RHD are notifiable diseases. In 2018, ARF was notifiable to state health departments in five Australian jurisdictions (Qld, WA, SA, NT and NSW), while RHD was notifiable in three (NSW, WA and SA). In NSW, RHD cases are only notifiable in people aged less than 35 years. Diagnoses of notifiable diseases are required by law to be reported to state and territory health authorities, to enable ongoing monitoring and support public health responses. 

Further information is available at Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in Australia, 2014–2018.

Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment (NTRAI)

The Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment (NTRAI) is funded by the Australian Government to support integrated hearing and oral health services for Aboriginal children in remote communities. The NTRAI investment spans 2015–16 to 2021–22, and replaces the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory investment. Ear health data from the NTRAI is provided by the NT DoH to the AIHW on a regular basis, in data files containing information on the delivery of ENT teleotology and outreach audiology services. Data for the provision of dental services through the NTRAI is reported in a similar manner to the AIHW, but on an annual basis. This data represents those who access these services, so should not be considered to be representative of outcomes for all children in the Northern Territory.

The latest data quality statements for the NTRAI collections are available for the following;

Online Services Report (OSR) data collection

The Online Services Report (OSR) collects organisation-level information from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific health care organisations funded by the Australian Government under its Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP), with data provided to the AIHW. It includes information about services offered at primary health-care and other organisations and activities undertaken.

Information on data quality for the OSR collection is available at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific primary health care: results from the OSR and nKPI collections.

Service Activity Reporting data collection

The Service Activity Reporting data collection includes information from organisations that receive Australian Government funding to provide health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This collection has since been replaced by the Online Services Report data collection.

Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC)

The Specialist Homelessness Services data collection (SHSC) includes information on people seeking services from agencies that receive funding under the National Affordable Housing Agreement or the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. Data are collected about clients of specialist homelessness agencies in addition to some information about unassisted people, that is, those who seek services and do not receive services at that time.

The latest data quality statement for the SHSC is available at Specialist Homelessness Services Collection, 2018–19; Quality Statement.

Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (SFNT) collections

The National Partnership Agreement on Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (SFNT) was funded from July 2012 by the Australian Government to provide health services in the Northern Territory. Data regarding the provision of audiology or dental services were provided to the AIHW to form the Audiology data collection and Dental data collections, respectively. The SFNT has since been superseded by the Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment from 2015–16.

The data quality statement for the SFNT data collections are available at hearing health data collection and dental data collection.

Youth Justice National Minimum Dataset (YJ NMDS)

The Youth Justice National Minimum Data set (formerly known as the Juvenile Justice National Minimum Dataset) is a joint project between the Australasian Youth Justice Administration and the AIHW, and provides nationally consistent data on young people’s experience of juvenile justice supervision. Data are extracted from state and territory administrative systems.

The data quality statement for the JJ NMDS, used in this report, is available at Juvenile Justice NMDS 2017–18: Quality Statement. The latest data quality statement is available at Youth Justice NMDS 2018–19: Quality Statement.

Other data sources

Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA)

The Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA) is a clinical quality registry that collects and produces a wide range of statistics relating to the outcomes of treatment of those with end stage kidney disease. Data is contributed from all adult and paediatric Renal Units in Australia and New Zealand, and is collected in the form of survey data, on an annual basis, or real time data, when major changes occur for a client. The survey has undergone changes as recently as 2019 to introduce new variables to further inform on patient outcomes.

Further information is available at ANZDATA Data Collection.

Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL), The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), Quality Practice Accreditation (QPA)

These three accreditation bodies provide data to the AIHW for the total number of accredited general practices and general practices registered for accreditation, as defined by Standards set by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). An accredited general practice is eligible to participate in the Practice Incentives Program administered by Medicare. There are two additional accreditation bodies not encompassed by this data collection, so this data should not be considered to fully represent all general practices in Australia.

Further information is available at each organisation’s website;

Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) provides administrative data on vaccinations. This data is provided from the National Immunisation Program, school programs, and through private vaccination providers. The major functions of the AIR are to provide an accurate measure of immunisation, and to provide a tool for monitoring coverage and delivery.

Further information is available at Australian Immunisation Register statistics.

BEACH (GP Survey data)

The Bettering the Evaluation And Care of Health (BEACH) survey (now ceased) collected information about consultations with GPs, including GP and patient characteristics, patient reasons for the visit, problems managed and treatments provided. The survey was conducted annually between 1998 and 2016. Information was collected from a random sample of approximately 1,000 GPs from across Australia each year. Each participating GP provided details of 100 consecutive consultations.

Although the questionnaire contains an Indigenous identifier, it is unknown whether all GPs ask their patients this question. The reliability of the results of the BEACH survey was tested in a sub-study of about 9,000 patients encountered during the survey in 2003. The sub-study found that when the question on Indigenous status is asked of the patient within the context of a series of questions about origin and cultural background, 2.2% will self-report as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, which is twice the rate routinely recorded in BEACH. However, this difference was not considered to be statistically significant. Further information can be found in Appendix A of National best practice guidelines for collecting Indigenous status in health data sets.

Under the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), governments have agreed to the implementation of the Best Practice Guidelines for the collection of Indigenous status in health data collection, which include recommended strategies for local service providers such as GPs and practice nurses to improve Indigenous identification data.

General practices and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services that meet accreditation requirements are eligible for financial incentives when they sign on to the Practice Incentives Program—Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI), obtain consent from their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients to be registered for chronic disease management through the IHI, and provide a targeted level of care for each registered patient. Participation in the PIP IHI also provides eligibility for other initiatives under Medicare.

Further information is available at Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH).

Deadly Ears program

Deadly Ears Program is a Queensland program that aims to address middle ear disease and its impacts through health promotion; workforce development; population-based allied health services; and ENT clinical and surgical outreach to remote communities.

Further information is available at Deadly Ears.

Department of Health data (Indigenous expenditure)

The Department of Health (DoH) provides budget statements on an annual basis, which outlines how the Government has allocated resources to various outcomes and their programs. Among these is Program 2.2: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, the focus of which is the “delivery of high quality essential health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”. The DoH annual budget provides nominal values for expenditure in this program, which is then indexed by the AIHW to allow for analysis of real growth.

Further information is available at Health Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19.

Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA)

The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program is run by the Australian Institute of Criminology, and is the longest-running ongoing survey of police detainees across the country. DUMA collects alcohol and drug use and criminal justice information from police detainees at watch houses and police stations across Australia. The program comprises two core components: a self-report survey on drug use, criminal justice history and demographic information; and voluntary urinalysis, which provides an objective measure for corroborating reported recent drug use.

Further information is available at Drug Use Monitoring in Australia.

Healthy for Life data collection

As part of the Healthy for Life (HfL) Program, data were collected for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services that participated. The HfL collection was discontinued June 2011.

Further information is available at Healthy for Life—Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services: report card.

Higher Education Statistics Collection

The Higher Education Student Statistics Collection comprises information on enrolments and award completions from public and private higher education institutions that are required to report to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Further information is available at Higher Education Statistics.

Medicare data

Medicare Australia collects Medicare Benefits Schedule claims data, which are regularly provided to the Department of Health. Medicare seeks Indigenous status information in its enrolment forms, including the general enrolment application form and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicare enrolment form.

A Voluntary Indigenous Identifier (VII) was introduced into the Medicare database from November 2002. Medicare data presented by Indigenous status have been adjusted for the under-identification in the Medicare VII database. Indigenous rates are therefore modelled and should be interpreted with caution. Estimates generated by the adjustment methodology for a given period will vary according to the point in time at which they are calculated, as the adjustment factors will be updated regularly to account for the ongoing change in the population coverage of the VII sample. More information on VII data is available at Voluntary Indigenous identifier (VII) Framework.

MBS data do not give a comprehensive picture of actual service delivery for Indigenous Australians, as some service delivery (particularly in Remote areas) is not part of these systems. For example, MBS data does not include services provided in the public health system or under other arrangements that do not attract an MBS claim (for example, some Aboriginal Medical Services and state/territory health services).

Further information is available at Medicare statistics.

National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)

Literacy and numeracy data are available from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA) annually conducted National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). The collection is a census of participating Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students, with achievement rates reported by band levels for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students by domain, year level and state and territory. Data are compiled by Australian Council for Educational Research and provided to ACARA for reporting in their national annual report.

Further information is available at NAPLAN.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research data collections

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) manages four data collections that concern different aspects of vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. Each state and territory collates data from their training providers on a student, course and module/unit of competency basis. Data are compiled into Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard format and validated by each training organisation before being submitted.

Further information is available at VET statistics explained.

National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP)

The National Deaths in Custody Program (NDCIP) is run by the Australian Institute of Criminology, and monitors the extent and nature of deaths in custody (those occurring in prison, police custody and youth detention). Information reported by the NDICP includes frequencies of deaths in custody and information regarding the deceased, including demographic information and cause of death.

Further information is available at National Deaths in Custody Program.

National Health Workforce Data Set (NHWDS)

Data regarding demographic and employment information for Australia’s registered health professionals is held in the National Health Workforce Data Set (NHWDS). The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (established under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme) is responsible for the national registration process for 14 health professions. Data from the registration process, as well as from voluntarily completed workforce survey data, forms the NHWDS.

Further information is available at Health Workforce Data: Datasets.

National HIV Registry

National surveillance for newly diagnosed HIV infection is coordinated by the Kirby Institute, in collaboration with state and territory health authorities and the Department of Health. All new HIV diagnoses are reported by doctors and laboratories to jurisdictional authorities. Notification data includes diagnosis, demographic information, date of diagnosis, likely place of HIV acquisition, and clinical information. The database where HIV notification data is stored is referred to as the National HIV registry.

Further information regarding the methodology for the National HIV Registry is available at Annual Surveillance Report 2019 Methods. Further information from the Department of Health, including recent incidence figures, is available at HIV notifications data.

National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP)

The National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) is run by the Australian Institute of Criminology, and reports annually on all homicides recorded in Australia since 1989–90, homicides referring to all cases of murder and manslaughter excluding driving causing death. The NHMP draws on data from offence records from jurisdictional police services and coronial records from the National Coronial Information System, all of which is cross-referenced and supplemented by court documents and media reports.

Further information is available at National Homicide Monitoring Program.

National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance system (NNDSS)

The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) co-ordinates surveillance of more than 50 communicable diseases or disease groups. Notifications made to states or territory health authorities and supplied to the Department of Health for compilation on a daily basis. Notification data includes demographic information, disease code, date of onset, date of diagnosis, and postcode of residence.

Further information regarding the methodology for the NNDSS is available at Annual Surveillance Report 2019 Methods. Further information from the Department of Health is available at Introduction to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.

National Trachoma Surveillance

Trachoma screening and management data are provided by selected jurisdictions to the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit within Kirby Institute, UNSW for the Department of Health. Data are analysed by community regions within jurisdictions for reporting. When the program was initiated in 2006 each jurisdiction identified communities at risk of trachoma. As time has gone on communities have been added to and taken away from this list, depending on how well they’ve managed the disease. A community is defined as a geographic location where people reside and where there is at least one school.

Further information is available at Australian Trachoma Surveillance Report 2018.

National VET in Schools Collection

The National Vocational Education and Training in Schools collection provides data on secondary school students who gain vocational education and training in schools. Data are collected and reported by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

Further information is available at VET in Schools.

National VET Provider Collection

The National Vocational Education and Training Provider Collection provides data on nationally recognised training and recognition of prior learning, from government-funded and privately operated training providers. Data are collected and reported by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

Further information is available at Students and courses.

New Zealand Ministry of Health: Mortality Collection (MORT)

The Mortality Collection (MORT) combines death registration and stillbirth registration data with cause of death information, which is then collated and coded to create national cause of death statistics for New Zealand. Extra variables—gestation and birthweight—are collected for fetal and infant data, a subset of MORT. Data is provided on a monthly basis by the New Zealand Government’s Births, Deaths and Marriages to be corroborated with Certificates of Causes of Death, and includes demographic and cause of death information. The major datasets used are the Fetal and Infants Deaths annual report tables, and the annual Mortality data tables.

Further information is available at Mortality Collection.

Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC)

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations is an independent statutory office holder appointed by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act). ORIC supports and regulates the corporations that are incorporated under the Act. It does this in a variety of ways: by advising them on how to incorporate, by training directors, members and key staff in good corporate governance, by making sure they comply with the law and by intervening when needed.

Further information is available at Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

Rural Workforce Agencies National Minimum Data Set

Rural Health Workforce Australia and the Rural Workforce Agencies in all states and the Northern Territory are contracted by the Department of Health to collect and report data on the general practice workforce in rural and remote locations. Data are updated through administrative processes and informed by the annual survey of General Practices and General Practitioners.

Further information is available at Medical Practice in Rural and Remote Australia: National Minimum Data Set (MDS) Report.

Statistics Canada: Canadian Vital Statistics – Birth database (CVSB)

The Canadian Vital Statistics - Births database (CVSB) is an administrative survey that collects annual demographic information from provincial and territorial vital statistics registries on all live births in Canada. Data from these mandatory surveys are used to calculate basic indicators on births of Canadian residents.

Further information is available at Statistics Canada, Canadian Vital Statistics - Birth database (CVSB).

United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention: National Vital Statistics System Birth Data

The US CDC presents a range of statistical health outcomes through the National Vital Statistics System. Among these is birth data which, through the analysis of birth certificates provided to the CDC, is tabulated and reported on in annual publications. Data in these reports are presented for maternal age, live-birth order, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, tobacco use, prenatal care, source of payment for the delivery, method of delivery, gestational age, birthweight, and plurality.  

Further information is available at Birth Data.

Visiting Optometrists Scheme and Rural Health Outreach Fund (VOS - RHOF)

The Department of Health provides the AIHW unpublished data that enumerates occasions of service under the Visiting Optometrists Scheme (VOS) and occasions of eye health-related service under the Rural Health Outreach Fund (RHOF). The VOS supports optometrists to deliver outreach optometric services to Remote and Very remote locations, and rural communities with an identified need for optometric services. The RHOF aims to improve access to medical specialists, GPs, allied and other health outreach services—including eye health services—in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia. In the reported time periods a patient may have more than one occasion of service, and data is only indicative of Australian Government-funded provision of services.

Further information is available at Visiting Optometrists Scheme and Rural Health Outreach Fund.