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This paper attempts to identify Commonwealth expenditure in the area of Indigenous affairs over the 40 years from 1968 to 2008 and to plot that expenditure by agency. It analyses trends in both the nominal and real expenditure, in the expenditure as a percentage of total Commonwealth outlays and gross domestic product, and in the per-capita expenditure. In nominal and real terms Commonwealth Indigenous-specific expenditure has trended up, but as a percentage of total outlays or Gross Domestic Product it has plateaued in more recent years. The per capita trend is found to be too problematic to characterise simply.

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