New and improved regional insights for Indigenous communities

  • ‘Data and Diversity’ by First Nations artist Jay Hobbs

Data and Diversity’ by First Nations artist Jay Hobbs

Fadwa Al-Yaman
By
Fadwa Al-Yaman
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
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With a mission statement of stronger evidence, better decisions, improved health and welfare it is only natural the collection and analysis of data and evidence is one of the top priorities of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

But strong evidence can’t be effective unless it finds its way into the hands of the people who are best placed to use it – especially when it comes to rural and remote Australians and communities. Access to in-depth and detailed data at the regional level is of particular importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) people.

To address this, we have created the Regional Insights for Indigenous Communities (RIFIC) website, a centralised hub for targeted data on the health and well-being of First Nations people.

Available to anyone with an internet connection, RIFIC allows users to tailor their searches by community, region, or area of interest. Interactive visualisations let users intuitively engage with and interpret community data based on area, including state and territory level, Indigenous locations, Indigenous regions, Statistical Areas Level, and more.

From there, RIFIC offers an extensive array of health and welfare information specific to the user’s chosen area. Statistics and analysis spans categories such as people and communities, mothers and babies, education and work, health risk factors, health conditions, life expectancy and mortality. Users can also compare data from their chosen region with information from other regions, allowing them to identify shortfalls and areas for improvement.

Since its launch, RIFIC has undergone continuous improvement based on user experiences and feedback. The third RIFIC release in December 2023, will provide several new features to help the public navigate the site, as well as a re-design based on artwork by First Nations artist Jay Hobbs (pictured).

This release introduces a new ‘Closing the Gap’ dashboard specifically for tracking progress toward Closing the Gap targets at the regional level. Priority Reform 4 of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap emphasises the importance of getting the right data to First Nations communities to guide their own development, and this dashboard is a big step toward making that happen.

This release also includes new and updated content based on Census 2021 data, providing new insights into demography, income, language, education, work, housing circumstances and self-reported chronic conditions. Access to the latest census data is crucial for informed decision making, and RIFIC provides up-to-date insights that most accurately reflect the current health and welfare environment, with scope to be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

This release introduces several new data topics, with statistics available at the most granular geographic level. These topics include MBS health checks, top reasons for hospitalisations, perinatal statistics, prevalence of treated end-stage kidney disease and dialysis, leading causes of death and information about the available health workforce. Together with the ability to make comparative analysis, this depth and breadth of information is an extremely robust resource for decision makers and First Nations communities.

For more information about RIFIC, please visit www.rific.gov.au

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