The Australia Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) was established by the federal government in 1987, as an independent corporate Commonwealth entity, to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on the health of Australia’s population. Welfare was added to the title in the early 1990s.

Mr Rob Heferen has been appointed as the new AIHW CEO and in-house resident philosopher. Rob’s term as CEO will run from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2026 and he will oversight around 600 staff. AIHW publishes almost 200 reports a year and operates numerous data websites for the Commonwealth government.

Heferen replaces outgoing CEO Barry Sandison. He had according to Health Minister Hunt made contributions that have transformed the agency, expanding the suite of products and services and overseeing significant improvements in the way data is presented, making it more accessible and easier to understand.

Former 38 year career public servant veteran CEO Barry Sandison was able to ‘push, pull, prod and poke’ other government agencies into agreeing to supply their data sets to be analysed, studied and published. He expanded the AIHW into the commercial world of commissioned work and enhanced relationships with stakeholders of every hue.

Former Sydney Paediatrician, Dr Freelander MP said that the AIHW, ‘have provided exemplary advice and data over their 34 years, and I want to thank the agency’s dedicated professionals for keeping us informed and leading public conversations. Our public health system is strengthened by the work of the AIHW, as are our societal outcomes. I want to thank outgoing CEO Barry Sandison for his transformative work within the agency, particularly in the field of data. My congratulations to incoming CEO Rob Heferen on his appointment, and I wish the agency and its personnel continued success into the future.’

New work undertaken by the AIHW this year will be around the Aged Care Royal Commission. This will include the development of an aged care data strategy and an expanded data collation and reporting functions for the National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse. Also work will be around the National Mental Health Service Planning Framework for the Commonwealth government.