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Over $120 billion was spent on health goods and services in Australia in 2009–10, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Health expenditure Australia 2009–10, shows that total health expenditure was $121.4 billion in 2009-10—up by $7.9 billion since 2008–09.

This was 9.4% of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and averaged out at $5,479 per Australian.

‘Health expenditure as a proportion of GDP has continued to grow, increasing from 7.9% in 1999-00 to 9.4% of GDP in 2009-10,’ said AIHW Director and CEO, David Kalisch.

Between 1999-00 and 2009–10, Australia’s expenditure on health in real terms (after adjusting for inflation) grew at an average of 5.3% per year, compared with average real growth in GDP of 3.1% per year.

The largest component of the increase in expenditure in 2009-10 was a $1.5 billion rise in spending on public hospitals, followed by spending on medications, which grew by
$1.0 billion.

The area of expenditure with the highest percentage growth was health research—which grew by 10.8% in real terms, followed by dental services—up 7.5%

Almost 70% of total health expenditure during 2009-10 was funded by governments, with the Australian Government contributing $52.9 billion (43.6%), and state, territory and local governments contributing $31.9 billion (26.3%). The remaining $36.6 billion (30.1%) was funded by individuals, private health insurers, and other non-government sources.

‘The Australian Government’s share of public hospital funding was 39.7% in 2009–10, less than its 44.6% share in 1999–00 and a slight increase from 39.6% in 2008–09,’ Mr Kalisch said.

‘State and territory governments’ share of public hospital expenditure was 50.6% in 2009–10, down from 51.2% in 2008–09.’

Australia’s health spending as a proportion of GDP was slightly lower than the OECD median of 9.6%.

The United States has the highest health expenditure as a proportion of GDP of the OECD member states at 17.4%, with other OECD countries including the Netherlands (12.0%), Canada (11.4%), New Zealand (10.3%) and the United Kingdom (9.8%) also above average.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 28 October 2011

Further information: Nigel Harding: (02) 6244 1025 or 0409 307 671

Jess Cumming: (02) 6249 5033 or 0401 769 793

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032

Full report: Health expenditure Australia 2009–10