Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2010-11

28 March 2013

This report presents estimates of health expenditure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their non-Indigenous counterparts for 2010-11. The reports are produced every 2 years. This is the seventh report in the series.

In 2010-11, health expenditure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was estimated at $4,552 million, or 3.7% of Australia's total recurrent health expenditure. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population comprised 2.5% of the Australian population on 31 December 2010.

Per person health expenditure

In 2010-11, average health expenditure per Indigenous Australian was $7,995, compared with $5,437 per non-Indigenous Australian. This represents an Indigenous per person ratio of 1.47-that is, $1.47 was spent on health per Indigenous Australian for every $1.00 spent per non-Indigenous Australian.

This ratio (1.47) was an increase from 1.39 in 2008-09. Some of this increase may be due to improvements in the accuracy and quality of the estimates in this report.

Areas of health expenditure

In 2010-11, publicly provided services, such as public hospital and community health services, were the highest expenditure areas for the Indigenous population. For example, the average per person expenditure on public hospital services for Indigenous Australians ($3,631) was more than double that for non-Indigenous Australians ($1,683).

For health services that have greater out-of-pocket expenses, such as pharmaceutical and dental services, Indigenous expenditure is generally lower relative to the non-Indigenous population. For example, the average per person expenditure on dental services was $149 for Indigenous Australians, compared with $355 for non-Indigenous Australians.

Funding sources

The Australian Government (44.8%) and the state and territory governments (46.6%) combined funded 91.4% of the total health expenditure for Indigenous Australians in 2010-11. The non-government sector, which includes out-of-pocket payments by individuals, funded 8.6%.

For non-Indigenous Australians, the Australian Government (44.5%) and the state and territory governments (23.7%) funded 68.1% of the total health expenditure. Non-government sources and individuals funded the remaining 31.9%.

Health expenditure trends over time

Between 2008-09 and 2010-11, all government (Australian and state and territory governments) health expenditure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increased by $847 per person (in constant prices). This represented an average annual growth rate of 6.1%. The corresponding figure for non-Indigenous Australians was 2.6%. Expenditure per person for Indigenous Australians was higher in all areas of expenditure for 2010-11 compared with 2008-09.

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