Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee

The Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee (WAAHEC) is one of three Aboriginal specific Human Research Ethics Committees (HREC) and is recognised and registered with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The WAAHEC was established to promote and support quality research that will be reflective of the needs of the community, and was created in response to concerns around the increased research being conducted in Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. The WAAHEC’s objectives are to effectively monitor ethically sound and culturally appropriate research, determine priorities for the research and ensure the benefits of the research to Aboriginal people.

Members of the WAAHEC meet (either face to face or tele/video conference) a minimum of nine (9) times per year. WAAHEC meetings are usually held at the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA), 450 Beaufort Street, Highgate.

Requirements for Ethics

Approval from the WAAHEC is required when research projects involve research in, or in relation to, Western Australia, and the following applies:

  • The research is related to health and wellbeing; and
  • the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is an explicit focus of all or part of the research; or
  • data collection is explicitly directed at Aboriginal people; or
  • research outcomes explicitly related to Aboriginal people; or
  • it is proposed to conduct sub-group analyses and separately analyses Aboriginal people in the results; or
  • the information, potential over-representation in the dataset, or geographic location has an impact on one or more Aboriginal communities; or
  • Government Aboriginal health funds are a source of funding.
Download Ethics Research Project Forms Below

It is a condition of ethics approval that the requirements of Part 9E of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 are met, including the requirement for researchers to submit a ‘GAA Medical Research Decision Report’ to the WA Department of Health within 15 days of enrolling each participant using the Act.

Steps for Proposal Development and Ethics Approval
WAAHEC Summaries of Approved Projects

Preliminary community consultation: find out what the priorities of the community / organisation are:

  • Develop your proposal with the communities / organisations based on their priorities
  • Obtain letters of support from appropriate community members and/or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
  • Submit your proposal to WAAHEC (Ensure you have allowed enough time on your timeline for your research to go through the Ethics process, and allow extra time if not approved)
  • After receiving WAAHEC’s approval, ensure you have gained other necessary approvals from other Ethics committees

All researchers are required to submit electronic copies of their ethics applications as follows in Word or PDF:

  • New Applications
  • Responses
  • Amendments
  • Progress Reports
  • Final Reports
  • Publications
  • Application Forms are signed by Chief Investigator

Once completed, all applications need to be submitted by COB 5pm on the submission date.

Please Note: Terminology used in WAAHEC Applications should read Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander people / communities

Please Note: If you submit your application after the deadline your application will not be considered until the next meeting.

Download WAAHEC Summaries of Approved Projects

Document submission due dates

Tuesday, 9 January 2024
Tuesday, 13 February 2024
Tuesday, 5 March 2024
Tuesday, 9 April 2024
Tuesday, 7 May 2024
Progress Report is due Sunday 30 June 2024
Tuesday, 25 June 2024
Tuesday, 16 July 2024
Tuesday, 13 August 2024
Tuesday, 24 September 2024
Tuesday, 29 October 2024
Progress Report is due Sunday 30 June 2024

Any applications submitted after the latest submission deadline will not be considered until the next meeting.

Committee meeting dates

Thursday, 8 February 2024
Thursday, 14 March 2024
Thursday, 4 April 2024
Thursday, 9 May 2024
Thursday, 6 June 2024
Progress Report is due Sunday 30 June 2024
Thursday, 25 July 2024
Thursday, 15 August 2024
Thursday, 12 September 2024
Thursday, 24 October 2024
Thursday, 28 November 2024

Community Consultation

The committee requires you to demonstrate appropriate consultation prior to application submission. Please ensure that you follow the relevant regions’ consultation processes and gain approval prior to submitting an application to WAAHEC.

Regional Contacts:
Kimberley Region

Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum
Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum / Kimberley research sub-committee, or find out more here.

Pilbara Region

Pilbara Aboriginal Health Alliance (PAHA)
For research in the Pilbara region please visit paha.org.au/research/ to lodge your research application.  For further information please contact us by email: [email protected] or by calling 0439 408 025

Metropolitan Region

Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service Aboriginal Corporation Research Sub – Committee
For further information email [email protected] or call 08 9421 3888.

Yamatji Aboriginal Health Planning Forum
Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service
For further information email [email protected]

Goldfields Aboriginal Health Planning Forum
Ngaanyatjarra Health Service
Please contact [email protected]

Wheatbelt Aboriginal Health Planning Forum
Please contact [email protected]

Southwest Aboriginal Health Planning Forum
South West Aboriginal Medical Services
Please contact [email protected]

Great Southern Aboriginal Health Regional Planning Forum
(GSAHRPF)Great Southern WA Country Health Services
Please contact [email protected]