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This report examines the performance of all Australian governments providing education, justice, emergency management, health, community services and housing services. These services account for $120 billion in government expenditure – almost 13 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product. The report is produced by a Steering Committee of senior officials from Australian, State and Territory governments, chaired by Gary Banks, chairman of the Productivity Commission.

This year's report includes a new 'Early childhood, education and training' section, recognising the links between children's services and education. Other improvements include more information on the age profile of nursing and medical practitioner workforces, jurisdictional data on younger people with a disability in residential aged care, and preliminary information on long term aged care in public hospitals.

Reporting on services to Indigenous Australians remains a priority. This report includes for the first time school learning outcomes information for Indigenous students by remoteness area. There has also been significant improvement in the reporting of health data by Indigenous status.

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