Improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality: real or data artefacts

Thursday, 23 March 2017
Dr Clare Coleman

One of the headline indicators for Closing the Gap is life expectancy. This is calculated every five years, using Census data, in the years between, all-cause mortality trends are reported. Recent government reporting in the Prime Minister’s reports, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage and the Health Performance Framework report on the decline in mortality since 1998. 

In this talk we examine the publicly available mortality data and look at more recent trends. Trends since 2006 are examined on year of occurrence and year of registration data for five jurisdictions. The use of rolling three year averages to smooth the trend lines is also examined. 

Transparency in reporting is important in building trust, justifying decisions on starting dates for trend reporting and for the inclusion of select jurisdictions. We identify some of issues across current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality reporting and make some recommendations for appropriate use of data for this public reporting.