Causes of liver failure & incidence of hepatitis B & C infection in Indigenous people 2004-2012

Dr Thilini Mahaliyana made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Bureau of Statistics

The request was refused by Australian Bureau of Statistics.

From: Dr Thilini Mahaliyana


Dear Australian Bureau of Statistics,

I am a doctor working in a rural area who is also studying Public Health and have an enquiry in the public interest regarding Indigenous health.

Various assertions have been made in regards to the underlying cause of excess mortality and morbidity from liver disease in the Indigenous community in Australia- notably that alcohol is the root cause for the gap between Indigenous & non-Indigenous Australians,despite multiple publications from the ABS advising that there is no statistical difference between the rates of heavy/risky drinking (when age adjusted) between the Indigenous & general population in Australia.

Furthermore, I have been unable to locate statistics on morbidity & mortality that subdivide causes of liver disease further- eg into alcoholic liver disease, fatty liver disease, autoimmune liver diseases, malignancy, hepatitis B.

Certainly there are research publications that do describe a high rate of both Hepatitis B as well as the Metabolic Syndrome (related to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) in the Indigenous population, and this perhaps accounts for part of the gap, however these articles do not give figures as to the population incidence & prevalence of non-alcoholic causes of liver disease in this population.

Owing to the relevance of this information for the future health and welfare of the health of Indigenous peoples in this country, I request the following:

- Incidence & prevalence of hepatitis B & C in the indigenous community and general population years 2004-12
- Incidence & prevalence of fatty liver disease in the indigenous community and general population years 2004-12
- Statistics on morbidity and mortality of Indigenous people and general community from chronic liver disease subdivided by underlying cause 2004-2012
- Rates of vaccination against hepatitis B in the indigenous & general community 2004-2012

I believe that this information is in the public interest due to its public health ramifications. This information is intended for publication for general viewing on the website "Right to Know" ( and possibly for future research & intervention into this area of public health.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Thilini Mahaliyana
Orange Health Service
NSW Health

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From: Emma Worthing
Australian Bureau of Statistics

Good afternoon Dr Mahaliyana,

As per our earlier phone conversation, we are unable process your request
as according to Schedule 2, Division 2 of the Freedom of Information Act
1982, all statistical data collected under the Census and Statistics Act
1905 is exempt from an FOI request.

Although we are unable to process your request, some of the health data
you have requested may be available through the National Information and
Referral Service (NIRS). The NIRS provides further information on our
published collections. There may be confidentiality restrictions on some
of the data, but the client service team will notify you of any
restrictions prior to the release of the data. Additionally, there is a
fee for the extraction of data not already published. The contact details
are as follows:

National Information and Referral Service
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616
Telephone: 1300 135 070
Email: [email address]

Additionally, the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Statistics (NCATSIS) can provide guidance on the statistical
collections the ABS holds in regards to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander population. NCATSIS will be able to discuss the type of data the
ABS collects in regards to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,
the variables available and at which level.  The contact details are as

National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616
Telephone: 1800 633 216
Email: [email address]

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you require any further

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Officer
Australian Bureau of Statistics


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From: Esther Lee
Australian Bureau of Statistics

Attachment mfd.printers 20130307 160842.pdf
1.4M Download View as HTML

Dear Dr Mahaliyana,

Please find attached the official ABS response to you FOI request.
(See attached file: [email address].au_20130307_160842.pdf)

Warm Regards,
Esther Lee

Audit, Policy and Parliamentary Liaison  |  Office of the Statistician and
External Engagement  |  Australian Bureau of Statistics

(P) (02) 6252 6106 (E)  [1][email address]  (W)  [2]


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