The Australian Government has welcomed the release of the second Indigenous Expenditure Report by the Productivity Commission.
The report forms part of the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) commitment to reporting transparency on expenditure on services for Indigenous Australians.
It estimates the Australian and state and territory governments spent $44,128 per head of population on Indigenous Australians in 2010–11, compared with $19,589 for non-Indigenous Australians.
The estimated government expenditure on Indigenous Australians reflects a greater use of government services because of higher level of need and disadvantage, as well as the additional cost of providing services in remote areas with significant Indigenous populations.
For example, Indigenous Australians make greater use of health services than non‑Indigenous Australians because, on average, they experience more health problems than non-Indigenous Australians, including higher rates of childhood hearing loss, eye problems, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This accounts for the greater spending on health services.
The Indigenous Expenditure Report gives all governments a better understanding of the level and patterns of expenditure on services for Indigenous people.
The report highlights the importance and contribution of mainstream government services and programs to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage, with these services accounting for 78 per cent of overall government expenditure relating to Indigenous Australians.
Since 2008 governments have committed unprecedented investments to help close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage, including:
Closing the gap is a national goal which requires the Australian Government to work in partnership with the state and territory governments, businesses, not-for-profit organisations, Indigenous people and the wider community.
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