Aboriginal health

Aboriginal people experience more life risk factors, poorer health and less acceptable outcomes in a range of life areas when compared to other South Australians. As a result Aboriginal people are among the most disadvantaged population groups in the community.

SA Health is working to address the health inequities faced by Aboriginal people, reducing the gap in health outcomes between South Australia’s Aboriginal people and the rest of South Australia’s population.

Key objectives

Some of SA Health’s key objectives in improving the health of Aboriginal people include:

  • reducing Aboriginal ill-health
  • developing a culturally-responsive health system
  • promoting Aboriginal community health and wellbeing.

To do this SA Health will:

  • coordinate a whole of government response using evidence-based, best practice models of care that recognise the importance of the social determinants of health in a local context
  • improve prevention, early detection and management of chronic disease targeting health promotion and prevention programs
  • improve Aboriginal birthing outcomes and child health through antenatal and post-natal visits and health assessments, beginning in the first trimester
  • improve the responsiveness of the health system to the needs of Aboriginal people recognising the importance of culturally-responsive health systems in treatment, maintenance and participation with the health system
  • reduce the health impact of alcohol, tobacco and other substance misuse through Aboriginal-specific education and treatment programs
  • improve mental health outcomes for Aboriginal people by coordinating mental health system responses with Aboriginal community controlled health services and support from specialist workers.

Aboriginal health services

For information about health services for Aboriginal people in metropolitan and country areas of South Australia go to our Aboriginal Health services page.

Aboriginal health resources and guides

This section features resources that are designed to increase understanding of matters relating to Aboriginal health and wellbeing. They are useful background reading for staff looking to improve their knowledge of Aboriginal culture, history, and health.

Guide for Engaging with Aboriginal People (PDF 531KB) - This guide assists staff to conduct Aboriginal stakeholder and community engagement. It is designed to be useful preparatory reading before Aboriginal engagement is organised and commenced. The Guide provides information about possible ways to engage Aboriginal people in a range of contexts in a culturally respectful and effective manner.

SA Health Aboriginal Culture and History Handbook (PDF 759KB) - This handbook presents background information on Aboriginal history, culture, demography and current affairs. This handbook is useful background reading to help staff understand Aboriginal health and wellbeing and access to services.  

South Australian Aboriginal History Timeline (PDF 146KB) - This is intended to be a brief history of Aboriginal South Australia post-colonisation including SA legislation, policy and practices. The timeline focuses on health sector policies and the South Australian context.

Reading these resources is strongly encouraged for staff completing an Aboriginal Health Impact Statement or Checklist of Best Practice Program Development for Aboriginal Health.

Aboriginal Workforce Framework 2017-2022

Implementation is underway to increase the Aboriginal workforce across the public health sector in clinical and non-clinical roles.

Aboriginal Cultural Learning Framework

The SA Health Aboriginal Cultural Learning online course is mandated, all employees are required to complete the course.

Implementation of the frameworks will assist SA Health to:

  • Improve the employment of Aboriginal people in SA Health
  • Provide culturally respectful and responsive services
  • Improve the cultural competency of our workforce.

Aboriginal Health Scholarship Program

The Department for Health and Wellbeing offers an Aboriginal Health Scholarship Program in partnership with Australian Rotary Health. To learn about the application process, visit the scholarship page.


Email: health.aboriginalhealthenquiries@sa.gov.au

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