If the health research project involves clinical or epidemiological research, data linkage or data release, health services or population health research, or qualitative research you will usually need ethics clearance. This is true for any inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants, even in the event that the health research is working across other population groups.
For health research ethics proposals being submitted through a university/research institution system or health services and hospitals, the health research proposal should be assessed through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific health research ethics committee see: National, State and Territory contacts or contact National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) or the relevant state affiliates. In the absence of a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research ethics committee, a consultative process should still occur by the HREC with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts and key representatives.
If you are collecting ideas and information to plan a local project or evaluation of the service you provide, you may not need ethics approval. Of course ethical considerations for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants still apply to quality assurance processes and, community consultation and ongoing communication is imperitive.