States and territories

Using the state of usual residence in 2021-22, the states and territories with the highest age-standardised rates of injury emergency department (ED) presentation among children are:

  • the Northern Territory (13,500 per 100,000 population)
  • Western Australia (12,500 per 100,000)
  • Queensland (10,400 per 100,000) (Figure 13).

Risk of injury varies between states and territories by age group. In New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, children aged 1–4 had the highest crude rates. Adolescents aged 13–15 had the highest rates of injury ED presentation in Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, while in the Northern Territory, it was 16–18-year-olds.  

The states and territories with the highest age-standardised rates of injury hospitalisation among children during 2021-22 are:

  • the Northern Territory (2,700 per 100,000 population)
  • Queensland (2,000 per 100,000)
  • the Australian Capital Territory (1,900 per 100,000).

Across every state and territory, adolescents aged 16–18 had the highest rates of injury hospitalisation. Children in the Northern Territory had the highest comparative rates of injury across states for all age groups. The exception to this was children aged under one, where the highest rates were in Queensland. 

A significant proportion of the Northern Territory is classed as Very remote which is a known factor in increased rates of injury (AIHW 2021b). Additional aspects that may be contributing to the high rates in this territory include having the greatest proportion of First Nations people of any state and territory, an increased proportion of ‘risky’ alcohol consumption, and the largest proportion of 0–19 year-olds across the country (ABS 2022; AIHW 2023a). The unique climate of the Northern Territory has also been suggested to contribute to heightened risk of injury (McDermott et al. 2017).

Figure 13: Age-standardised rates of injury emergency department presentation and hospitalisation, by state and territory, Australia, 2021–22

The age-standardised rates of injury by state and territory. NT has the highest rates for both ED and hospitals data.


  1. Rates are age-standardised per 100,000 population.
  2. Only includes records where the patient was between 0 and 18 years of age.
  3. 'State' is the state or territory of usual residence of the patient.
  4. Excludes records from other Australian territories or where state is unknown.

Sources: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD), National Non-Admitted Patient Emergency Department Care (NNAPEDC) Database, and ABS National, state and territory population.

For more information, see supplementary data tables E1 and E3.

Trends over time

The age-standardised rate of injury hospitalisation decreased or remained stable in most states and territories between 2017–18 and 2021–22, with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory, where it has increased (from 1,700 in 2017–18 to 1,900 in 2021–22) (Figure 14).

The increase in Australian Capital Territory rates of hospitalisation reflect a similar pattern to that found by ACT Health among children and young people aged 0–24 (Draper et al. 2023). While the study has differing methodology and scoping, the parallel results indicate that this issue requires additional research to determine the underlying drivers of change.

An interactive Tableau for age-standardised rates over a period of ten financial years by state and territory.

For more information, see supplementary data table E2.