Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health: services and support

  • Accessing medication

    Close the Gap PBS Co-payment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    The Closing the Gap (CTG) PBS Co-payment Program is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of any age who:

    • identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
    • have registered with Medicare (essential for eligibility)
    • would experience setbacks in the prevention or ongoing management of a condition if the person did not take the prescribed medicine, in the opinion of a prescriber or Aboriginal Health Practitioner (AHP)
    • are unlikely to have access to this medication without assistance through the program

    If these criteria are met, medications on the PBS are available at concession price 

    With a healthcare card (in addition), medications on the PBS are free of charge. Many Aboriginal families are not aware or not registered, and paying too much for their medications

    Children and families can be registered for CTG at their local Aboriginal Community Control Health Organisation (ACCHO) or through HPOS 


    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are eligible for additional immunisations

    • see the Victorian vaccine schedule for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
    • Immunisation schedules may vary between states

    A guide to discussing immunisation with families can be found at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance 

    Annual Health Checks

    Aboriginal people, of any age, are eligible for a free annual age-specific health check

    • This is completed by a GP in conjunction with an Aboriginal Health Worker, usually at an ACCHO 

    For children, this will cover immunisation, growth, behaviour and development, hearing, vision and dental review

    • If issues are identified, children can often be linked to internal services within the ACCHO
    • It is often valuable to have these issues checked and addressed before a Specialist Paediatric appointment

    Medical services to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families in Victoria

    Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)

    VACCHO is the peak organisation representing Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations. VACCHO supports 33 community-controlled organisations across Victoria, which deliver culturally safe health, community and social services 
    Search for local community-controlled organisations here

    Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

    VAHS is a Melbourne-based aboriginal health service that provides medical, dental and social services across 4 sites to the local community

    Services include:

    Wathaurong (Geelong, Bellarine, Colac)

    Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative provides culturally appropriate programs, support and services for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    Services include:

    First People’s Health (Thomastown and Frankston)

    First People’s Health is an Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation that delivers trauma-informed primary healthcare to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people

    Services include:

    • General practitioners
    • Aboriginal health checks
    • Social and emotional wellbeing
    • Vaccinations
    • Physiotherapy
    • Hearing assessment
    • Pathology 

    Mental health and wellbeing support

    Bouverie Workin’ with the Mob

    Bouverie offers family therapy to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Centre

    Resources for emotional wellbeing


    24 hour crisis support line


    Compilation of online resources, podcasts, videos, helplines and online programs that promote emotional health and wellbeing

    Boorndawan William Aboriginal Healing Service

    Assists people impacted by family violence
    Services include:

    • Art Therapy
    • Women's Kitchen Table Yarning Circles
    • Men's Healing Circle
    • Balit Yan Yan
    • Children's Holiday Activities
    • Education and Awareness Programs
    • Family Camp

    Strong Brother Strong Sister Foundation

    Strong Brother Strong Sister Foundation is a culturally appropriate safe place to guide, mentor and empower Aboriginal young people to achieve excellence

    Other support services

    Victoria Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)
    VACCA is a state-wide Aboriginal community-controlled organisation
    Services include:

    Education Support

    Early Start Kindergarten

    • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children are eligible for 15 hours of free or low cost kindergarten per week if they turn 3 years old by 30 April in the year they start kindergarten (equivalent to Four-Year-Old Kindergarten)

    Koorie Education Coordinators (KECs)

    • KECs can be assigned to schools to assist in providing culturally safe learning environments

    Legal Services

    Deadly Lions

    Kids First

    • Offers support to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are at risk of entering the Youth Justice System

    Housing Services

    Cultural safety and training

    RCH Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Program (RCH Learning HERO access only)  
    Yarning to make shared decision making (NSW Health)


    Last updated March 2024