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Capacity Building Approaches In Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Communities Assessment Answer

Question is given below

Word count (1200-1500)

Reference with a citation is compulsory

For this assessment, you are required to discuss and give examples of Capacity Building approaches / projects in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the areas of:

o Health

o Education

o Employment

• and how these approaches are applied within a Community Development Framework

Your essay should include at least 5 scholarly journal articles that you have read, in addition to any textbook references. The format of your essay will be discussed in greater detail during tutorials.


Capacity Building Approaches/ Projects In Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Communities


The indigenous population is an integral part of Australian culture. Presently, in Australia, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders' peoples make up 2.4% of the population. They are vibrant, a fundamental part of Australian culture, yet there is compelling data of substantial social and economic drawback experienced by Indigenous people (NACCHO, 2020). This drawback accounts for the surplus disease rate and death rate of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples. In the current scenario, it becomes essential to give charge to the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and work towards their capacity building (Lewis & Myhra, 2017). 


The Australian Government is dedicated to improving the condition and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of AustraliaThe National Indigenous Australians Agency is practising an approach that is strengths-based to make sure those policies and programs address a variety of social, economic, and cultural determinants and also contribute to the improvement of outcomes in other dimensions: physical and mental health, social and emotional well-being, disabilities, children health and old-age care (Freeman et al., 2016; NIAA, 2020). 

These huge efforts of the Australian government may become redundant without the participation of Aboriginal and Torres people. The significance of Aboriginal community control in health, education, and other sectors to enhance better outcomes has been acknowledged in state and federal government policy (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2017). The literature recommends that building capacity is necessary to substantiate community groups' abilities to describe, assess, study and act on health concerns relevant to their people. Community capacity promotes the assets and attributes that community is competent enough to draw upon (Lavarack et al., 2008). 

Capacity Building: Health

The Australian Government Health Department offers separate and culturally based appropriate primary health care for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population via Indigenous Australians' Health Program. It has various initiatives and plans such as The Closing the Gap framework; The National Health Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (2013-2023), and The National Strategic Framework in favour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations' Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing (2017-2023). The Australian government also focused on providing the Primary Health Care plans (PHC Activity) through Indigenous Australians' Health Program, which is purposed to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can take advantage of effective health care services countrywide (NIAA,2020). 

In a study, Apunipima Cape York Health Council (ACYHC) was identified as the most appropriate community-controlled organisation to plan, prioritise and control primary health care practices and resources allocation into Cape York. The ACYHC objective was to enhance Cape York communities' ability by developing the capacity of Health Action Teams (Lavarack et al., 2008). Another study reported that Men's Groups and Sheds offers conducive settings for capacity building development as a community management practice to improve men's health and well-being outcomes (Shaw et al., 2014). The effect of capacity building on men's health is constructive, with the knowledge promotion and access to health services, like Medicare, Centre link, the Department of Housing, and Control and Probation (Shaw et al., 2014).

Another noteworthy initiative is the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs).  ACCHS's became significant strategic sites used for the building capacity of the Aboriginal community. Local Aboriginal community directive in health is essential for explaining the Aboriginal holistic health and allows Aboriginal communities to evaluate individuals' own protocols, affairs, and procedures (NACCHO, 2020). The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization (NACCHO) is the national body representing over 140 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) across the country on Aboriginal health and well-being issues (NACCHO, 2020). They are operated by Aboriginal Health Workers to offers primary care health services and also preventive health education considered. The impact of ACCHS on the Aboriginal community is significant, and it works through staff education, commitment, employment, and social achievement (NACCHO, 2020). This setup offers clinical services, counselling, antenatal care, maternal and child health care is a significant ratio (Australia Government Department of Health, 2013). The health care system is based on social and emotional well-being; around 95% of organisations focus on capacity building by increasing the indigenous population's participation in group activities on health-related promotion and prevention programs. Activities such as living skills sessions, healthy weight, chronic disease support sessions, and tobacco-use treatment and preventive sessions are useful (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020). 

Capacity Building: Education

In the present scenario, health care services are getting transformed culturally appropriate. They are putting enormous effort into making this population into the mainframe and improving health and well-being (Griew et al. 2008). Capacity building can be supported by educating and empowering this population. Thus, the Government has taken various steps to build capacity by education development and empowerment of the indigenous population (Jongen et al., 2019). The Australian Government is working with education authorities, the aboriginal population, and schools to provide better education to the Aboriginal children. The government is investing in the education of these children through the Quality Schools package. The Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) funds $220 million each year under the Children and Schooling Programme (Outcome 2.2) to improve the educational outcomes of this population( NIAA, 2020).

One of the studies suggests that increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's research capacity was taken in 1998 and 2002. The  Indigenous Research Agenda Reforms connected to the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health were introduced to train the Aboriginal population in health research and execute inter-organisational processes and mechanisms to implant extra comprehensive, principled, and impactful research (Ewen et al., 2019). These initiatives are crucial for building this population's education capacity as it will help bring them in basic research and science. 

Capacity Building: Employment

Capacity building in Indigenous communities is a mode of addressing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people's social, cultural, political, and economic development and aspirations. Employing this vulnerable population can account for significant change in their holistic well-being. The data suggest that in 2016, The Department of Health and Human Services employs only 1% of Aboriginal staff across Victoria. The government has come up with an Aboriginal employment strategy 2016–2021, which targets to increase the employment percentage to two per cent. The framework focuses on six areas, viz. profile and leadership, recruitment, retention, inclusive workplaces, induction, and development (Department of Health and Human Services, 2016).

Various efforts are made at different levels to increase the employment rate of this population. A study was done in Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service (Gurriny), Yarrabah, North Queensland. In 2014, PHC services in Yarrabah were moved from Queensland Health to community control by Gurriny. It was found that in four years of the transfer, employment of local people was raised by above 75%, and ideal practitioner to individual ratios and workforce stability was also attained (Jongen et al., 2019).

The employment of the rural Indigenous population as PHC workforces is also accounting significantly in enhancing indigenous people's employment capability. The government utilises several strategies for professionals' growth, workforce practices, and competencies like mentorship, training, accreditation, and promotion. Harmonious workplaces with effective teamwork, management, leadership having shared objectives throughout the organisations are imperative.  The indigenous population capacity can be built by the engagement and preservation of Indigenous health practitioners (Jongen et al., 2019). The literature reflects that giving employment to Indigenous health professionals can help overcome key cultural and communication obstacles for Indigenous people. Data evidence that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers may support modification of the population's perspective by attendance improvements, treatment acceptance, and follow up practices. Hence this step would significantly increase both health and employment capacity (Jongen et al., 2019). 


Capacity building is a substantial approach to bring significant change in the healthcare of the indigenous population. The Australian Government has also immensely focused on this population, and to enhance their capacity, the $36.232 million were included in the 2014 Federal Budget in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS). The Government has also initiated programs like Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Department of health, 2020). Several other such initiatives are also required shortly to bring the indigenous population into the mainstream.

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