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Australian Government’s Productivity Commission consultation: Draft Indigenous Evaluation Strategy – Request for member feedback

The Productivity Commission (the Commission) is the Australian Government’s independent research and advisory body on a range of economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians. In 2019, the Commission consulted on the development of an Indigenous Evaluation Strategy (the Strategy) to improve the evaluation of policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. AudA contributed to the Commission’s consultation by providing a submission.

AudA’s 2019 submission to the Commission drew attention to the importance of, and priority need to, evaluate hearing health initiatives to help improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. AudA considers the hearing health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be a critical evaluation priority for several reasons, including:

1. The size of the hearing health problem amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the extent of its impact on people’s health and wellbeing across their lifespan.

2. The widespread occurrence of hearing loss among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially children and young people, which is also characterised by earlier onset, greater severity and persistence.

3. The high rates of severe and persistent ear infections experienced by children living in remote communities.

4. The need for the Government to improve data gathering for, and evaluation of, hearing health programs, such as Closing the Gap, in order to determine the successes and failures of these programs.

AudA will be providing another submission to the Commission on its draft Strategy and invites further feedback from members.

Key points of the Commission’s draft Strategy include, as follows:

1. The need to put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the centre; and recognise that to achieve better outcomes, what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people value, their expertise, and lived experiences need to be reflected in what is evaluated, how evaluation is undertaken and the outcomes policies and programs seek to achieve.

2. Providing a whole-of-government framework for Australian Government agencies for evaluating policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

3. Setting out evaluation principles and providing principles-based guidance for Australian Government agencies for selecting, planning, conducting and reporting evaluations.

4. Proposing an Office of Indigenous Policy Evaluation to monitor agencies’ performance against the Strategy, provide evaluation leadership and identify potential cross-agency/topic evaluations.

5. In the longer term, a new independent agency – a Centre for Evaluation Excellence – could be established to provide evaluation leadership and external oversight for all social and health policy evaluations across Australian Government agencies.

More information on the Commission and the draft Strategy is available here. AudA’s previous submission to the Commission on the development of the Strategy is available here.

The final Strategy is expected to be handed to the Australian Government by October 2020.

Members are invited to contribute to AudA’s submission and provide feedback via email to feiya.zhang@audiology.asn.au by 5pm, Monday 20 July 2020.

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