What we are doing in Canberra

What we are doing in Canberra

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What we are doing to improve health literacy in the ACT

ABS data indicates that about 4 out of every 10 (44%) people in the ACT do not have the health literacy skills needed to understand and use everyday health information. This is better than the national average of 6 out of every 10 (60%) adult Australians[i] but still means that work is needed to ensure that all Canberrans can achieve their best possible health.

This website is a central point of reference for health literacy information, training and resources for the ACT. It aims to:

  • raise awareness of health literacy issues,
  • support improved health literacy skills in consumers, carers, health care professionals and community support groups or organisations,
  • provide health literacy resources for consumer organisations, community services, health professionals and consumers.

Diagram showing what is being done in teh ACT to improve health literacy

About the Community Health Literacy Project

This website is part of the Community Health Literacy Project which works towards the vision that everyone who uses health services in the ACT has the confidence, knowledge, understanding and skills they need to live well regardless of their health conditions, supported by a health literate system and workforce.

In 2019 the Health Care Consumers’ Association received funding from the ACT Government to undertake the Community Health Literacy project to “help patients better navigate our health system”.

One outcome of the project is this Canberra Health Literacy website.

Infographic showing how health literacy impacts on health outcomes

The Canberra Health Literacy project also includes:

  • An environmental scan of community health literacy strengths and opportunities in the ACT (2019) which:
    • analysed community health literacy strengths, challenges and priorities for ACT communities,
    • reviewed health literacy initiatives in the ACT, Australia and internationally, and
    • identified priority initiatives to improve health literacy in the ACT.
  • Development of a draft Health Literacy Framework for the ACT Health Directorate
  • The Canberra Health Literacy Network, which provides learning and development opportunities for health and community professionals and people involved in consumer organisations.
  • A training package to assist community sector workers to support the health literacy of people who use their services.
  • A Consumer Complaint Decision Aid.

The Community Health Literacy Project is guided by a Steering Group that brings together people with consumer, clinical or policy expertise. This includes representatives from:

  • ACT Health Directorate
  • ACT Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Calvary Public Hospital Bruce
  • Canberra Health Services
  • Capital Health Network
  • Carers’ ACT
  • Health Care Consumers Association (HCCA)


[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2006. Health Literacy – Australia. ABS, Canberra

Last Updated on 7 August, 2023.