Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

Legal basis (mandates) and mission

AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare. AIHW is an independent corporate Commonwealth entity established in 1987, governed by a management board and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health portfolio. AIHW's aim is to improve the health and well-being of Australians through better health and welfare information and statistics. AIHW collects and reports information on a wide range of topics and issues, ranging from health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury, and mental health, to ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection. Governments and the community use AIHW reports and data in discussing, debating and making policy decisions on health, housing and community services matters.

Topics of interest in the prison setting

  • Prisoner health
  • Youth justice
  • Mental health services
  • Alcohol and other drug use, and treatment services
  • Homelessness services
  • Chronic conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and arthritis
  • Child protection
  • Disability, and disability support services
  • Indigenous health

Strategic operations

  • Collect, analyze and report information drawn from health services, community services and housing assistance services across Australia
  • Collaborate with governments at all levels, universities, research centres and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Develop, build and improve performance indicators and targets for national agreements between the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments
  • Develop and maintain national metadata standards to improve the quality and consistency of national health and welfare statistics
  • Data custodians for national health and welfare data collections

Role in prisons

Project manager and data custodian for Australia's National Prisoner Health Data Collection

Target groups

  • Governments, both Commonwealth and State and Territory
  • Policy-makers in prison health field
  • Health and other professionals in prisons
  • NGOs involved in prisons and prison health
  • General public

Geographic region of focus