Resources and Background

Communication and Health Literacy

Resources and Background

Workplace toolkit
Health literacy in practice

Health literacy in Australia

The 2006 Australian Bureau of Statistics Health Literacy Survey found:

  • 63% of Tasmanians have inadequate health literacy the highest level of all states and territories
  • inadequate health literacy increases with age – 55 to 59 years (66%), 60 to 64 years (71%) and 65 to 74 years (83%)
  • inadequate health literacy is higher in cultural and linguistic diverse communities – first language other than English (74%), first language English (56%)
  • inadequate health literacy increases with relative socio economic disadvantage – least disadvantage (45%), next least disadvantaged (54%), middle quintile (59%), second most disadvantaged (65%) and most disadvantaged (74%)
  • inadequate health literacy is higher in low income households with 79% in the lowest quintile in comparison to 37% in the highest quintile
  • inadequate health literacy decreases with the number of years of formal education – 10 years or less (83%), 11 to 15 years (55%), 16 to 20 years (32%) and 21 years and over (28%). However, higher qualifications do not necessarily mean better health literacy, with inadequate health literacy higher in postgraduate degrees recipients (27%) compared to graduate diploma/certificate recipients (23%).

Literacy and numeracy resources

Tasmanian Government icons to convey information clearly and quickly

The Tasmanian Government has a program to help people with general literacy and numeracy skills see 26TEN

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care resources

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has released new health literacy resources including:

Organisational health literacy audit tool and publications from Enliven

The Enliven Organisational Health Literacy Self-assessment Resources provides a tool to enable full or selected assessment of 10 organisational health literacy attributes. The resource was commissioned by Enliven and developed by the School of Primary Health Care, Monash University.

Enliven has also published two documents looking at the specific needs of vulnerable groups:



Importance of improving health literacy

The importance of improving health literacy is widely recognised within the health sector as a priority for action. The following strategic documents include making health literacy a key issue:

Links to health and human services department operational frameworks

Communication and health literacy is also an important part of the Public Health Services Working in Health Promoting Ways Framework and supporting the Self-Management Framework

Building a Health Literate Tasmania

Building a Health Literate Tasmania Forum 27 October 2015 Flyer

Building a Health Literate Tasmania Forum Evaluation Report May 2016


For more information about  health literacy in health and human services email

September 2015