Most public health activities are aimed at preventing illness or improving the general health status of a nation's population. What we spend on public health services is an investment in the nation's health that will bear fruit, in terms of reduced expenditure on illness, over time. This publication, the second in a series that reports on public health expenditure in Australia, provides information about public health costs. It summarises estimates of expenditure from key health departments and agencies of the Commonwealth and each State and Territory Government and shows that, in 1999-00, Australian governments spent a total of $931 million on public health activities. The report examines expenditure by governments in nine core public health activity categories, showing which activities incur the most expenditure. For the first time, it also presents estimates of expenditure by local government and non-government organisations on activities with a public health focus.