Implementation Plan Advisory Group (IPAG) - Communiqué - 28 February 2017

Page last updated: 27 March 2017

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The Implementation Plan Advisory Group (IPAG) held its third meeting on 28 February 2017 at Parliament House, Canberra in relation to the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

The meeting followed the mid-February release of the Prime Minister’s annual ‘Closing the Gap’ (CtG) statement.  Discussions were mindful of the reported results, which showed stagnated progress against the CtG targets.

Members were addressed by the Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, and introduced to Senator Patrick Dodson and the Hon Warren Snowdon MP.  The Minister affirmed the importance of cross-party cooperation on Indigenous health.  He spoke of the need for evidence-based monitoring and evaluation, setting appropriate targets, and the importance of celebrating local successes.

All three Parliamentarians spoke of the need for health and other sectors to do better and deliver outcomes on the ground in communities.  They recognised the importance of social and emotional well-being as a dimension of health, which must be addressed through work across social and cultural determinants.  All Parliamentarians expressed their commitment to working with First Australians to achieve CtG targets.
Members noted progress to date against the Implementation Plan, including the following recent achievements against 2018 deliverables:

  • The 2017 phase of the Indigenous-focussed National Tobacco Campaign has commenced.
  • The Commonwealth commenced trialling a youth consultation mechanism with the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia.
  • A discussion paper on youth consultation was released to jurisdictions for feedback in mid-January.
  • AHMAC endorsed the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023.

Consultation forums for the development of the next iteration of the Implementation Plan will be held between March and May 2017 and members affirmed that IPAG would be represented at each forum.  Members of Federal and State/Territory Governments are also expected to attend most forums, reinforcing Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments’ commitment to the Implementation Plan.  Concurrent to consultation forums, an online portal “My Life, My Lead” will be open shortly for written submissions through the Department’s website (

Continuing on the theme of social and cultural determinants, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Housing, Land and Culture Division presented on the Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) and the Remote Housing Strategy.  The Review, led by the Remote Housing Expert Panel, was informed by nation-wide consultations in which it explored with community members and key stakeholders the question “What are the social and economic outcomes of good housing?” Full details of the Review and Panel are available at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website (

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The IPAG has been established to review progress, assess action and identify emerging policy and strategic issues for the Implementation Plan, and provide advice to the Departments of Health and Ageing and Prime Minister and Cabinet.  IPAG will play a key role in engaging across the sector for the development of the next iteration of the Implementation Plan.

Membership of IPAG includes representatives from:

  • The Department of Health and Ageing
  • The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • The National Health Leadership Forum
  • The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • Jurisdictional representatives from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee of AHMAC
  • Indigenous health experts with expertise in early childhood health, comprehensive primary health care and acute care.

The IPAG is co-chaired by Co-Chaired by Mr Richard Weston, Chair, National Health Leadership Forum, and Ms Bobbi Campbell, First Assistant Secretary, Indigenous Health Division, Department of Health.

IPAG’s first and second meetings were held on 16 September and 2 December 2016.  For further details, please refer to the IPAG Communique for the 2 December meeting.

Implementation Plan

The Implementation Plan, launched in October 2015, outlines the actions to be taken by the Australian Government, the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, and other key stakeholders to give effect to the vision, principles, priorities and strategies of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013-2023).

The Implementation Plan is being progressed in two stages. The second stage of the Implementation Plan (2013-2023) will include:

  • Development of Domain 7 – social and cultural determinants of health.
  • Increase engagement and involvement with other Australian Government agencies, state, territory and local governments, the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, the non-government sector and the corporate/private sector.
  • New challenges and priorities.
  • Emerging evidence and opportunities.
  • Strategic response on mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drug use.

Social and Cultural Determinants of Health Working Group

The Working Group is hosted by the Department of Health and comprised of policy and program officers from the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Education and Training, Employment and Social Services.  The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has been invited to participate at a senior level.  Other representatives, including from the Department of Communications and the Arts, the Department of Environment and Energy, and the Attorney-General’s Department, will be co-opted in to the Working Group to support the development of the work, as required.