Go to top of page


Aedes albopictus

Exotic mosquitoes that are carriers (vectors) of dengue, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

The ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses and parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

APEC is a regional economic forum with 21 members, established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia‑Pacific.

The APEC cooperative process focuses on trade and economic issues, with members engaging with one another as economic entities.

Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency)

The Agency is responsible for national digital health services and systems, with a focus on engagement, innovation and clinical quality and safety.

The Agency focuses on putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the health care professionals who look after them.

Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC)

AHMAC is the advisory and support body to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council. It operates to deliver health services more efficiently through a coordinated or joint approach on matters of mutual interest.

Batten disease

A fatal, inherited disorder of the nervous system that begins in childhood.

Blood borne viruses (BBV)

Viruses that are transmitted through contact between infected blood and uninfected blood (eg. hepatitis B and hepatitis C).

Cervical cancer

A cancer of the cervix, often caused by human papillomavirus, which is a sexually transmissible infection.


A viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.

Chronic disease

The term applied to a diverse group of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis that tend to be longlasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases (infections), chronic diseases is usually confined to noncommunicable diseases.

Closing the Gap

Council of Australian Governments Closing the Gap initiatives designed to close the gap in health equality between Indigenous and non‑Indigenous Australians.

Communicable disease

An infectious disease transmissible (as from person to person) by direct contact with an infected individual or the individual’s discharges or by indirect means. Communicable (infectious) diseases include sexually transmitted diseases, vectorborne diseases, vaccine preventable diseases and antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

Council of Australian Governments (COAG)

COAG is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia. The members of COAG are the Prime Minister, state and territory Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.


A mosquito‑borne viral infection.


Refers to a group of syndromes caused by a malfunction in the production and release of insulin by the pancreas leading to a disturbance in blood glucose levels. Type 1 diabetes is characterised by the abrupt onset of symptoms, usually during childhood, and inadequate production of insulin requiring regular injections to regulate insulin levels. Type 2 diabetes is characterised by gradual onset commonly over the age of 45 years, but increasingly occurring in younger age groups. Type 2 diabetes can usually be regulated through dietary control.

Digital health

Application of internet and other related technologies in the health care industry to improve the access, efficiency, effectiveness and quality of clinical and business processes utilised by health care organisations, practitioners, patients and consumers to improve the health status of patients.

Epidermolysis Bullosa

A rare inherited skin disorder that causes blistering and requires clinically appropriate dressings.

Fabry disease

An inherited disorder that results from the buildup of a particular type of fat, called globotriaosylceramide, in the body’s cells.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

Refers to a range of problems caused by exposure of a fetus to alcohol during pregnancy.

Financial year

The 12 month period from 1 July to 30 June.


G20 is the premier international forum for global economic cooperation. The G20 members account for 85 per cent of the world economy, 75 per cent of global trade and two thirds of the world’s population.

General Practitioner (GP)

A medical practitioner who provides primary care to patients and their families within the community.

Genetically modified organisms (GMO)

Organisms modified by gene technology.

Gene technology

Gene technology is a technique for the modification of genes or other genetic material.

Haemopoietic Progenitor Cell (HPC)

Blood cells found in bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood that are capable of self‑renewal into all blood cell types.

Head to Health

Provides help to find digital mental health services from some of Australia’s most trusted mental health organisations.

Provided by the Department, Head to Health brings together apps, online programs, online forums and phone services, as well as a range of digital information resources.

Health care

Services provided to individuals or communities to promote, maintain, monitor or restore health. Health care is not limited to medical care and includes selfcare.

Health outcome

A change in the health of an individual or population due wholly or partly to a preventive or clinical intervention.

Hepatitis B

A viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. It is most commonly transmitted from mother to child during delivery as well as through contact with blood or other bodily fluids.

Hepatitis C

A blood borne viral disease that can result in serious liver disease such as cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is usually transmitted by parenteral means (as injection of an illicit drug or blood transfusion or exposure to blood or blood products).

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

A virus that causes genital warts which is linked in some cases to the development of more serious cervical cell abnormalities.


Inducing immunity against infection by the use of an antigen to stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies. See vaccination.

Implementation Plan Advisory Group (IPAG)

IPAG was established to provide a forum for government to work in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders to review, asses and guide action under the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 (Implementation Plan).


The number of new cases (of an illness or event, and so on) occurring during a given period. Compare with prevalence.


In the Commonwealth of Australia, these include the six states, the Commonwealth Government and the two territories.


A mosquito‑borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals.


A highly contagious infection, usually in children, that causes flu‑like symptoms, fever, a typical rash and sometimes serious secondary problems such as brain damage. Preventable by vaccine.

Medical indemnity insurance

A form of professional indemnity cover that provides surety to medical practitioners and their patients in the event of an adverse outcome arising from medical negligence.

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF)

The MRFF delivers better and more advanced health care and medical technology for Australians. It provides support to researches to discover the next penicillin, pacemaker, cervical cancer vaccine or cochlear ear.


A national, Government‑funded scheme that subsidises the cost of personal medical services for all Australians and aims to help them afford medical care. The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is the listing of the Medicare services subsidised by the Australian Government. The schedule is part of the wider MBS (Medicare).

Memorandum of Understanding

A written but noncontractual agreement between two or more entities or other parties to take a certain course of action.

Meningococcal disease

The inflammation of meninges of the brain and the spinal cord caused by meningococcal bacteria that invade the body through the respiratory tract. The infection develops quickly and is often characterised by fever, vomiting, an intense headache, stiff neck and septicemia (an infection in the bloodstream).

My Health Record

An online summary of a person’s key health information that can be viewed securely online, from anywhere, at any time.

A person’s health information can be securely accessed from any computer or device that is connected to the internet.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

An organisation of 35 countries (mostly developed and some emerging, such as Mexico, Chile and Turkey), including Australia. The OECD’s aim is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world.


Outcomes are the Government’s intended results, benefits or consequences for the Australian community. The Government requires entities, such as the Department, to use Outcomes as a basis for budgeting, measuring performance and reporting. Annual administered funding is appropriated on an Outcomes basis. The Department’s current Outcomes are listed on page 23.

Palliative care

Care provided to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients with a progressive and far‑advanced disease, with little or no prospect of cure.


The study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of organs, tissues, cells and bodily fluids.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)

PBAC is an independent expert body appointed by the Australian Government. Members include doctors, health professionals, health economists and consumer representatives.

Its primary role is to recommend new medicines for listing on the PBS. No new medicine can be listed unless the committee makes a positive recommendation.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

A national, Government‑funded scheme that subsidises the cost of a wide range of pharmaceutical drugs for all Australians to help them afford standard medications. The PBS lists all the medicinal products available under the PBS and explains the uses for which they can be subsidised.

Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)

Statements prepared by portfolios to explain the Budget appropriations in terms of outcomes and programs.


The number or proportion (of cases, instances, and so forth) in a population at a given time. In relation to cancer, prevalence refers to the number of people alive who had been diagnosed with cancer in a prescribed period (usually 1, 5, 10 or 26 years). Compare with incidence.

Primary care

Provides the patient with a broad spectrum of care, both preventive and curative, over a period of time and coordinates all of the care the person receives.


A specific strategy, initiative or grouping of activities directed toward the achievement of Government policy or a common strategic objective.

Prostheses List

Under the Private Health Insurance Act 2007, private health insurers are required to pay benefits for a range of prostheses that are provided as part of an episode of hospital treatment or hospital substitute treatment for which a patient has cover and for which a Medicare benefit is payable for the associated professional service. The types of products on the Prostheses List include cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, cardiac stents, joint replacements and intraocular lenses, as well as human tissues such as human heart valves. The list does not include external legs, external breast prostheses, wigs and other such devices. The Prostheses List contains prostheses and human tissue prostheses and the benefit to be paid by the private health insurers. The Prostheses List is published bi‑annually.

Public health

Activities aimed at benefiting a population, with an emphasis on prevention, protection and health promotion as distinct from treatment tailored to individuals with symptoms. Examples include anti‑smoking education campaigns and screening for diseases such as cancer of the breast or cervix.

Quality Use of Medicines (QUM)

QUM means:

  • selecting management options wisely;
  • choosing suitable medicines if a medicine is considered necessary; and
  • using medicines safely and effectively.

The definition of QUM applies equally to decisions about medicine use by individuals and decisions that affect the health of the population.


Any person undertaking medical vocational training in a recognised medical specialty training program accredited by the Australian Medical Council.

Sexually transmissible infection (STI)

An infectious disease that can be passed to another person by sexual contact. Notable examples include chlamydia and gonorrhoea.


Artificial body opening in the abdominal region for the purpose of waste removal.

Tyrosinaemia Type 1 (HT-1)

A genetic disorder characterised by elevated blood levels of the amino acid tyrosine, a building block of most proteins.


The process of administering a vaccine to a person to produce immunity against infection. See immunisation.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

An international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world.

World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN). Its primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the UN system. The WHO has 194 member states, including Australia.

Yellow fever

An acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

Zika virus

A virus closely related to dengue. It is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of certain infected Aedes species mosquitoes.