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Journal article

Demographic indicators of trust in federal, state and local government: implications for Australian health policy makers

1 Jan 2012

Objective: To provide baseline findings regarding Australians' trust in federal, state and local government.

Methods: A computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) survey was administrated during October to December 2009 to a random sample (n = 1109) across Australia (response rate 41.2%). Binary logistic regression analyses were carriedout by means of SPSS.

Results: Age, household size, household income, IRSD and ARIA were found to be significant indicators for trust in federal, state and local government. Trust in state government is lower for older respondents and respondents living in inner and outer regional areas. Trust in local council is lower in respondents living in inner regional areas, respondents living in disadvantaged areas, and respondents in the income bracket of $60 001 to $100 000. Trust in federal government is lower for older respondents and respondents living in disadvantaged areas. Of note is diminished trust in government among older, regional and lower income ($30 001-$60 000) respondents.

Conclusions: Trust in all levels of government was found to be the lowest in population groups that are identified by empirical research and media to have the poorest access to government services. As a consequence, improved access to services for these populations may increase trust in health policy. Increased trust in health governance may in turn, ensure effective dissemination and implementation of health policies and that existing inequities are not perpetuated through distrust of health information and policy initiatives.

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