The 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report provides estimates of expenditure on services provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by the Australian Government, and State and Territory governments.
Estimates are provided for each level of government, Australia as a whole, and by state and territory geographical basis, for 2008-09 and 2010-11.1 These estimates provide one element of the evidence base that policy makers need to gain a clearer picture of the efficiency of government services provided to Indigenous Australians.
Estimating the Indigenous component of expenditure — especially for mainstream services — is a complex exercise. The 2010 Indigenous Expenditure Report (IERSC 2010) and supplement (SCRGSP 2011a) were important first steps toward a reliable method for estimating this expenditure. This report builds on that work with a number of important improvements (box 1). However, many data quality and methodological challenges are yet to be resolved, and the interpretation of these estimates requires an understanding of the strengths and limitations of the data and method, as well as the context within which Indigenous services are provided.