The June 2010 report of the Inquiry into Suicide in Australia by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee The Hidden Toll: Suicide in Australia noted the high rates of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, differences in the pattern of suicidal behaviour and its disproportionate impact on families and communities. Recommendation 27 of the report recommended that:

"... the Commonwealth government develop a separate suicide prevention strategy for Indigenous communities within the National Suicide Prevention Strategy..." (SCARC, 2011).

The report also recommended that this strategy should:

  • develop the capacity of communities and community organisations to provide local leadership and resources to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to take on the challenge of preventing suicide
  • provide postvention support to families and communities bereaved through suicide
  • be based on evidence and should provide professional support for effective practice and
  • be supported by the resources of all levels of government and across the whole of government.
In its response to the report the Australian Government acknowledged the unacceptably high rates of suicide amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and supported the recommendation by announcing, in September 2011, the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (the Advisory Group) to guide the development of the Strategy (list of members at Appendix 1). The Advisory Group's role was also to provide critical advice to Government on the investment of funding to be provided through the Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package for suicide prevention activity specific to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. An important piece of work that was completed by the Advisory Group during its tenure is the development of key principles to guide government investment in suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. These principles underpin this Strategy and are listed in section 2 Principles.