Understanding how the policies of Australian governments can promote health through action on the social determinants of health and health equity
Funded by the Australian Research Council 2016-2019
This project aims to increase understanding of how the policies of Australian governments in sectors other than Health contribute to health and health equity. We will do this by examining how policy in the Justice, Urban Planning, Environment and Industry sectors facilitates or obstructs action on social determinants of health and health equity (SDH/HE); including via their collaborative activity with other policy sectors. The research is intended to facilitate improved whole-of-government action to promote health and equity while still addressing other sector specific goals.
The specific aims of the research are to:
- advance knowledge of the extent to which Australian governments’ policies in the selected sectors at both Federal and State/Territory levels, recognise evidence and propose action on SDH/HE, in ways that are likely to improve health or reduce health inequities.
- identify opportunities for, and barriers to, improved action on SDH/HE within the policy positions of the selected sectors, including in relation to collaboration with other sectors.
- advance understanding of factors leading to incorporation of actions on SDH/HE in policy development, in each selected sector, and across sectors.
- understand how policy in each the selected sectors disposes them to action on social determinants to improve the health of Indigenous Australians.
- understand how political values and institutional norms shaping policy in the selected sectors affect prospects for improved cross-sectoral action, or whole-of-government action, on SDH/HE in Australia.
Each of the four sectors includes multiple departments, and we are defining our focus as follows:
- Justice – incorporating policy on Attorney General functions, courts, policing and corrections
- Urban Planning – incorporating policy on planning, infrastructure, transport and essential services
- Environment – incorporating policy on environmental protection, natural resources and land management
- Industry – incorporating policy on energy production, governance and distribution
The first stage of the research involves collecting and analysing all strategic policy documents from the four sectors. Two policies from each sector that demonstrate recognition of the SDH/HE will then be selected from each sector during the second phase of the research for further case study analysis. This will include interviews with those who developed each policy.
Professor Fran Baum, AO
Southgate Institute for Health Society & Equity, Flinders University Profile
Prof Colin MacDougall,
Public Health, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University Profile
Dr Patrick Harris,
University of Sydney
Prof Dora Marinova,
Curtin University of Technology
Professor Dennis McDermott,
Poche Chair, Flinders Aboriginal Health Research Unit, Flinders University Profile
Dr Matt Fisher
Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity
Prof Margaret Whitehead, University of Liverpool
Prof Peter Sainsbury, South Western Sydney Local Health District
Ms Carmel Williams, SA Health
Associate Professor Lester Wright
Dr Anthea Krieg, Department of Communitites and Social Inclusion, SA Government