$1.22 per person spent on Indigenous health for every $1.00 spent on non-Indigenous health

A new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows per person spending on health and high care residential aged care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2006-07 was 22% higher than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.

'The amount spent, $1.22 for every Indigenous person per $1 spent on non-Indigenous people, was an increase from the $1.17 on every dollar in 2004-05,' said AIHW senior economist Damian O'Rourke.

This increase in health spending for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians was largely due to higher growth in spending on public hospital services for this group.

'The higher spending for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reflects, among other things, differences in the health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, as well as differences in the average costs of providing health goods and services,' Mr O'Rourke said.

'For example a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in remote and very remote regions in Australia where the costs of providing health goods and services are higher than for people who live in capital cities or inner regional areas,' he said.

The AIHW report, Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2006-07, shows that total expenditure on health and high care residential aged care services for Indigenous people was about $3 billion in 2006-07.

This constitutes 3% of the nation's total expenditure on health and high care residential aged care services for all Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians comprise about 2.5% of the Australian population.

'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians generally use more public hospital and community health services than non-Indigenous Australians, but fewer medical, pharmaceutical, dental and other health services-which are mostly privately provided,' Mr O'Rourke said.

Friday 18 December 2009

Further information: Damian O'Rourke, AIHW, 02 6244 1074, or mobile 0418 271 395
John Goss, AIHW, 02 6244 1151, or mobile 0402 346 379

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.