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Aboriginal health

The Department of Health aims to make a significant and measurable impact on improving the length and quality of the lives of Aboriginal Victorians in this decade, in partnership with the Aboriginal community and our stakeholders.

The government's objectives are to:

Key priorities

The six key priorities of Koolin Balit: Strategic Directions for Aboriginal Health 2012-2022 are:

  1. a healthy start to life
  2. a healthy childhood
  3. a healthy transition to adulthood
  4. caring for older people
  5. addressing risk factors
  6. managing illness better with effective health services.

Koolin Balit builds on the Victorian Health Priorities Framework 2012-2022. Broader, whole-of-government strategies are outlined in the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018.

Read more about Koolin Balit: Victorian Government strategic directions for Aboriginal health 2012-2022

What's New

Koolin Balit Conference Grants

Eligibility and application process

A key enabler in Koolin Balit, the Victorian government's strategic directions for Aboriginal health, is to maximise the use of research and evidence. Conducting evaluation and having the opportunity to share evaluation findings is a key strategy towards achieving this aim.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is offering one-off grants of up to $2,000 to assist individuals to travel and attend conferences where they have been accepted or invited to make an oral presentation about an Aboriginal health initiative being implemented in Victoria.
  • Applicants must be employees or clients of an organisation providing healthcare services in the state of Victoria.
  • Eligible organisations include Aboriginal community controlled health organisations, hospitals, community health services, primary care partnerships and non-government organisations funded by the Victorian DHHS providing health services to Aboriginal people.
  • Applications will only be considered after an abstract has been accepted for oral presentation or an invitation to present an oral presentation has been received in writing from the conference organisers. Poster presentations are not eligible.
The planned presentation must include some form of review, quality improvement or evaluation of an Aboriginal health initiative. Presentations that are purely descriptive are not eligible for a grant.
How you can apply for a grant
The process to apply for a grant is:
  • Undertake an evaluation, quality improvement process or review of your Aboriginal health initiative.
  • Submit an abstract or expression of interest to a relevant conference, as per the conference organisers' requirements.
  • Upon acceptance or invitation to present, complete the Koolin Balit conference grant application form and send it, together with your accepted abstract, proof of acceptance or invitation, registration costs and travel/accommodation quotes to DHHS by email to
  • The Department's Aboriginal Health Evidence and Evaluation Working Group, which brings together data and evaluation experts, will oversee the program.
Grant applications can be submitted at any time. There is no single deadline for submission of applications.

Applications will be open from 1 July 2015 until 30 March 2017.

Upon receipt of your application, you will receive an acknowledgement within 3 days and advice of whether you have been successful within 14 days.

If you require a faster turnaround, please note this on your application form.

For more information, please contact either Melissa Reid, 03 9096 1475 ( or Bruce Watson, 03 9096 6131 (

 Koolin Balit Conference Grants – Application Form
 Koolin Balit Conference Grants – Frequently Asked Questions

Dhumba-nganjin: Sharing stories to promote reconciliation

In 2012, the Wirrigirri (Messenger) program was established to promote reconciliation and build improved understanding of Aboriginal history and culture throughout the department.

The Sharing Stories Wirrigirri activity was undertaken in 2014.  The aim of the activity was to give staff a way to share a personal view or reflection of what reconciliation means to them.  And in doing so, learn from each other and continue the dialogue on reconciliation within their own work areas and the department.

Written stories contributed by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff were published in Dhumba-nganjin: Sharing stories to promote reconciliation.

Permission was kindly given by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages to use the translation of ‘sharing stories’ - Dhumba-nganjin for the book’s title.  Dhumba means ‘talk’ and nganjin means ‘all of us including you’ in the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung languages.

Dhumba-nganjin Sharing stories to promote reconciliation.  Note that images and stories cannot be extracted for separate publication without the permission of the Department.

Koori Health Counts! 2012-13

Koori Health Counts: Victorian Aboriginal Hospital data report provides an overview of Aboriginal health in Victoria, as measured by hosptial admissions.

The information is used to monitor changes in the health of the Aboriginal community, and to inform policy and the planning and development of service delivery models and health promotion programs.

  • The 2012-13 hospital admissions data shows a number of important trends including:An increase in Aboriginal hospital admissions over several years.
  • An increase in the percentage of dialysis admissions.
  • The other major causes of hospital admissions are pregnancy and childbirth, digestive disorders, and injury and poisoning.
  • A greater increase in male admissions than female admissions since 2007/08.
  • The age groups from 60 to 75+ years had the highest rates of admission.
  • A steady increase in the number of births of Aboriginal babies.
  • The total rates of admission do not reflect the earlier age of onset of chronic diseases for Aboriginal people.

 Koori Health Counts! 2012-13

Koolin Balit State-wide Action Plan 2013-2015

The state-wide action plan covers the period from 2013 to 2015, outlining the detail of what the Victorian Department of Health and other relevant departments and partners will do to achieve the aims of theKoolin Balit: Victorian Government Strategic Directions for Aboriginal Health 2012-2022.

The action plan includes clear measures and milestones to implement and achieve each of the aims set out in the Koolin Balit 10 year strategy.

The key actions for the next three years are:

  • Reducing the rate of Aboriginal perinatal mortality;
  • Increasing the proportion of Aboriginal children participating in maternal and child health visits;
  • Reducing smoking take-up among Aboriginal teenagers;
  • Reducing the number of Aboriginal adults who are current smokers;
  • Helping older Aboriginal people access information, support and services to maximise their health and wellbeing; and
  • Improving access to primary, acute and mental health services.

 Koolin Balit State-wide Action Plan 2013-2015


Victorian Aboriginal population a snapshot

Photo gallery

Safety protective screens are erected along Arnold Street