Steady increase in public health spending continues

Expenditure on public health activities by Australian health departments in 2004-05 was approximately $1.4 billion or $71 per person according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

According to the National public health expenditure report 2004-05, the greatest proportion (23.6%, or $338.3 million) was spent on organised immunisation, followed by selected health promotion ($232.8 million) and communicable disease control ($232.0 million).

Mr John Goss, Head of the AIHW's Expenditure and Economics Unit, said 'Total public health expenditure increased by 13.7% over the previous year.'

'The areas with the strongest growth were organised immunisation (up 26.2% or $70.2 million), prevention of hazardous and harmful drug use (up 15.7% or $26.3 million) and cervical screening (up 15.1% or $13.5 million),' he said.

The Australian Government provided $863.3 million or just over 60% of the funding for public health activities in 2004-05.

Of this funding, $468.0 million was spent on the Australian Government's own programs and $395.3 million was provided to state and territory governments via specific purpose payments to fund agreed state and territory public health activities.

The remaining funding of $573.0 million in 2004-05 was provided by the state and territory governments.

Allowing for inflation, the report shows there has been a steady increase in expenditure on public health activities over the six years from 1999-00 to 2004-05, with real growth averaging 5.8% per annum.

'In 2004-05, the public health share of recurrent health expenditure, in current price terms, was estimated at 1.7% and has remained virtually constant since 1999-0', Mr Goss said.

19 January 2007

Further information: Mr John Goss, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1151 or mob. 0402 346 379.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 61 2 6244 1032.