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A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) looks at deaths due to injury in Australia, and shows a decline over the period 1999-00 to 2009-10.

The report, Trends in injury deaths, Australia: 1999-00 to 2009-10, shows that the rate of injury deaths decreased by an average of 3% per year, from 55 deaths per 100,000 people in 1999-00 to 47 deaths per 100,000 in 2004-05, and then remained fairly stable to 2009-10.

'During the period, we have seen a fall in the death rates from most causes of injury,' said Professor James Harrison, from the AIHW's National Injury Surveillance Unit.

'For example, there has been an average decline of 4.1% per year for transport injury deaths, 3.2% for thermal injury (injuries related to exposure to smoke, fire and flames or contact with heat and hot substances), 2.7% for suicide and 5.2% for homicide.'

'Rates of fall injury deaths, the most common type of injury death recorded, did not show a marked trend,' Professor Harrison said.

There were 2,247 deaths due to suicide in 2009-10 and of these, there were more than three times as many male suicides (1,710 deaths) as female suicides (537 deaths).

Homicides accounted for 240 injury deaths in 2009-10. This was just over 2% of all injury deaths. There were twice as many male homicide deaths as female homicide deaths (160 and 80, respectively).

'Overall, injury death rates were much higher for males, at 61 deaths per 100,000 males, compared to 37 for females,' Professor Harrison said. The report also shows that there were consistently around three times more injury deaths in people aged 65 and over than in the general population over the study period. This was true for both males and females.

Among the states and territories, residents of the Northern Territory had the highest injury death rate, which was around double the national rate. Residents of Victoria recorded the lowest rate.

'We also found that injury death rates tended to rise with increasing remoteness-the rate for residents of remote areas was nearly double the rate for residents of the major cities.'

Indigenous Australians had an injury death rate of 1.8 times that of other Australians in 2009-10. Almost half of all Indigenous injury deaths occurred in people aged 25-44 for both males and females, compared with 27% and 13%, respectively, for non-Indigenous Australian males and females.

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, 12 May 2015

Further information: Prof. James Harrison, AIHW, tel. 08 8201 7602; mob. 0405 031 467

Full publication: Trends in injury deaths, Australia: 1999-00 to 2009-10 
Injury deaths data, Australia: technical report on issues associated with reporting for reference years 1999–2010