Australia currently lacks an agreed set of national public health indicators. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in consultation with the National Public Health Information Working Group, has produced a paper that discusses the issues involved in developing such a set of national indicators. The purpose of the National Public Health Indicators project is to provide a set of summary indicators for surveillance and monitoring of population health, enabling reporting on Australia's public health via key health domains with a national focus. Indicators provide a summary method of describing the public health problems that affect a population. The discussion paper sets out the development, so far, in the process to formulate and adopt measures that will indicate the level of achievement in public health in Australia. In doing so, the paper seeks views and input from the public health community to assist in the further development of an agreed set of national public health indicators. Current until 30 November 2000.