In brief

Our purpose

To create authoritative and accessible information and statistics that inform decisions and improve the health and welfare of all Australians.

Our values

In pursuing our vision, we draw on our independence and our expertise in health and welfare, to strive for excellence in all we do. We also uphold the Australian Public Service values of being:

  • Impartial—we are apolitical and provide the Australian Government with advice that is frank, honest, timely and based on the best available evidence.
  • Committed to service—we are professional, objective, innovative and efficient, and work collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the government.
  • Accountable—we are open and accountable to the Australian community under the law and within the framework of ministerial responsibility.
  • Respectful—we respect all people, including their rights and their heritage.
  • Ethical—we demonstrate leadership, are trustworthy and act with integrity in all that we do.

Our strategic goals

Over the next 5 years, we will apply and strengthen our capabilities to be:

Leaders in health and welfare data

We will engage nationally and internationally with authorities in our domain to develop, promote and deliver quality standards, systems and processes for collecting, curating and linking health and welfare data.

Drivers of data improvements

We will build on our trusted status to identify and respond to gaps and opportunities in multisource health and welfare data holdings. We will support our partners to develop and capture the data required to inform national priorities.

Expert sources of value-added analysis

We will harness and enhance our capabilities in the health and welfare domains to turn data and information into knowledge and intelligence. We will translate this evidence to provide insight into patterns, trends and outcomes, including how these compare across organisations, regions and internationally.

Champions for open and accessible data and information

We will leverage emerging technology and enhance our products and services in order to provide data and information tailored to diverse access, timeliness and quality requirements. We will support our partners in making their data accessible while protecting privacy.

Trusted strategic partners

We will foster strategic partnerships and engage collaboratively with stakeholders to deliver program-specific expertise and enable others to achieve their strategic goals.

Our organisation

The Hon Greg Hunt, MP

The AIHW Act is our enabling legislation and establishes the AIHW Board as the Institute’s governing body. Further information about how we operate and the role and composition of the board are specified in Chapter 4 Our organisation.

The board is accountable to the Parliament of Australia through the Minister for Health, and is responsible for setting the overall policy and strategic directions of the Institute. As at 30 June 2018, the Minister for Health was the Hon Greg Hunt, MP.

The Charter of Corporate Governance outlines AIHW’s governance arrangements, including the board’s structure, processes and responsibilities. The AIHW Director manages the day-to-day affairs of the Institute with the assistance of a Deputy Director and an executive committee.

The Institute operates in accordance with the PGPA Act. For planning purposes, it prepares a corporate plan and budget estimates as required by the PGPA Act. For reporting purposes, it prepares this annual report, which must include a set of annual financial statements and an annual performance statement, also as required by the PGPA Act. Much of the work we undertake is subject to ethical clearance by the AIHW Ethics Committee, which is established by the AIHW Act.

Functions and role

The detailed functions of the AIHW are prescribed in section 5 of the AIHW Act. In summary, the Institute has responsibility to:

  • collect and produce, and coordinate and assist the collection and production of, health- and welfare-related information and statistics
  • conduct and promote research into Australians’ health and their health services
  • develop specialised standards and classifications for health, health services and welfare services
  • publish reports on its work
  • make recommendations to the Minister on prevention and treatment of diseases and improvement and promotion of the health awareness of Australians
  • provide researchers with access to health- and welfare-related information and statistics.

Data collections

The AIHW is committed to providing statistical information that governments and the community can use to promote discussion and inform decisions on health, housing and community services. In doing so, we ensure that data privacy and confidentiality are maintained and that the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988 and the AIHW Act are met.

Our health and welfare data holdings are substantial, including more than 150 data sets. These essential statistical assets cover fields as diverse as expenditure, hospitals, disease, injury, mental health, ageing, homelessness, housing, disability, child protection and mortality. The AIHW also operates as the access point for the sharing of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Centrelink data sets.

These data are used in many of the reports, bulletins and data products we release and are also used by the community, policymakers, researchers and service providers. A full list of products released during the year is provided in Appendix 2. A printable list of our data collections can be accessed via the AIHW website at Our data collections.

For further information on the AIHW’s Data Governance Framework, data security and privacy protections, refer to Chapter 4 Our organisation.


Our stakeholders are important to us as groups to which we are accountable, who fund us, and to whom we target our products. They include:

  • the Parliament of Australia and people of Australia
  • the Australian Government and its departments and agencies
  • state and territory governments and their departments with responsibilities for health, community services, housing assistance, education and justice
  • health and welfare service providers, professionals and non-government organisations
  • consumers of health, welfare and housing assistance services
  • the research community.

The AIHW collaborates closely and has effective partnerships with many individual government entities, universities, research centres, non-government organisations and individual experts throughout the country. More details on our collaborative partners are provided in Chapter 4 Our organisation.

In 2017 the AIHW commissioned a comprehensive survey to gain insight into the perceptions of our stakeholders. Overall, the survey provided positive results and evidence that the AIHW is achieving its strategic objectives. Further details of the survey findings are provided in Chapter 1 Our performance.

International partnerships

The AIHW has a role in information sharing with a number of international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We also have informal collaborative arrangements with other international agencies and bodies, such as the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the International Group for Indigenous Health Measurement.

Chapter 1 Our performance

Data linkage services

We completed data linkage services for 61 projects, including linkage of data sets to MBS and PBS data, the National Death Index and the Australian Cancer Database.

Access to data for analysis

During 2017–18, we completed 184 requests for customised data analysis, which provides access to statistics that are not available in published reports, tables, dynamic data displays or data cubes. In addition, we are continuing to develop ways to release more statistical products that allow users to manipulate information into formats suitable for their analysis.

Financial performance

Our total revenue for 2017–18 was $65.1million, which represents an increase of $7.3 million from 2016–17. Appropriation has increased due to new funding from the ‘Public Modernisation Fund’ for the AIHW to participate in the Data Integration Partnership for Australia partly offset by efficiency dividends and wage cost index adjustments.

Fee-for-service work also increased by $5.5 million. Our financial result for the year was a surplus of $133,000.

Figure 1: Major revenue sources, 2014–15 to 2017–18, with projections, 2018–19 to 2020–21

Figure 1 compares the income received by the AIHW for project work undertaken for external agencies and as appropriation from the Australian Government since the 2014-15 financial year. This graph also compares the projected income for both major revenue sources for financial years up until 2020-21.

Chapter 2 Our products

Products released

We released 218 products during 2017–18 covering a broad range of topics, such as life expectancy and disability in Australia, injury, aged care, the impact of overweight and obesity, youth justice, hospital statistics, health expenditure, domestic and sexual violence, mental health, Australia’s health, Australia’s welfare and trends in Indigenous mortality and life expectancy.

Chapter 3 Our communications


In 2017–18, we produced and expanded the number of infographics across all topic areas, providing our audience with an easy-to-interpret graphical format.

Media and online presence

Media coverage of AIHW products increased in 2017–18 compared with the previous year. There was a slight dip in website traffic, a temporary consequence of the introduction of the new AIHW website in September 2017.

Figure 2: Number of mentions in the media attributed to the AIHW

Figure 2 is a representation of the increased online and media presence attributed to the AIHW since the 2013-14 financial year. The media coverage of AIHW products increased in 2017-18 in comparison to previous years despite a slight dip in website traffic in September 2017.

Website sessions million
2017–18 2.9
2016–17 3.0
Media coverage items
2017–18 5,472
2016–17 5,354

Chapter 4 Our organisation

AIHW Board

The AIHW is managed by the AIHW Board. The board is an ‘accountable authority’ under the PGPA Act. The board’s composition is prescribed by section 8(1) of the AIHW Act. Board members are appointed by the Governor-General and hold office for a specified term not exceeding 3 years. In addition, there are 3 ex-officio board members: the AIHW Director, the Australian Statistician or nominee, and the Secretary of the Department of Health or nominee. In 2017–18, the AIHW Board met 5 times.

AIHW Ethics Committee

The AIHW Ethics Committee is established under section 16(1) of the AIHW Act. Its main responsibility is to advise on the ethical acceptability or otherwise of current or proposed health- and welfare-related activities of the AIHW, or of bodies with which the AIHW is associated. In 2017–18, the AIHW Ethics Committee met 5 times and considered 76 new project applications.

Chapter 5 Our people

In 2017–18:

347 public service staff were employed by the AIHW

102 contract staff were employed at the AIHW

26% of employees worked within part-time arrangements

18 staff were employed as part of our graduate intake

20 staff were presented with long-service awards, having reached their 10- or 20-year anniversaries.

68%25 of staff in AIHW are females and 32%25 are males