NACCHO Aboriginal health news : New report highlights the challenges that remain to significantly improve the lives of Aboriginal people in remote communities

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The Coordinator General, Brian Gleeson, says in the report that while the National Partnership has made a solid start on improving the quality of life for Indigenous people in remote communities, it will take a generation to change,”

The Minister said the report highlights the need for greater government coordination as a critical factor in achieving sustainable results in communities.

Picture above: Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion visiting a remote community in Central Australia with NT Chief Minister Adam Giles

A new report highlights the challenges that remain to significantly improve the lives of Indigenous people living in remote communities, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said today.

The eighth report of the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services, released today, details outcomes of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery which aims to improve the delivery of government services to people living in 29 priority communities across Australia.

DOWNLOAD Eighth Report Into Remote Indigenous Service Delivery

“The Coordinator General, Brian Gleeson, says in the report that while the National Partnership has made a solid start on improving the quality of life for Indigenous people in remote communities, it will take a generation to change,” the Minister said.

“That’s why I am determined to ensure that no time is wasted in implementing key measures, such as lifting school attendance.

“Ensuring every child attends school every day and receives an education that meets national standards be a fundamental that is without question, but attendance rates at too many schools in remote Indigenous communities are not good enough.

“This will be a key focus of the Australian Government’s efforts to improve the circumstances of remote Indigenous people to ensure that we build future capability and capacity.”

The Minister said the report highlights the need for greater government coordination as a critical factor in achieving sustainable results in communities.

“That’s exactly why the Government has transferred most Indigenous policy and programmes into the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C),” Minister Scullion said.

“The significance of this move should not be under-estimated. It puts Indigenous affairs at the centre of decision-making and will simplify programme delivery and cut red tape to ensure funding It has involved moving 1700 employees from eight departments to better coordinate Indigenous programme funding in 2013-14 totalling $2.5 billion.”

Mr Gleeson also says in his report that further attention needs to be paid to three key areas:

  •  Enhancing local governance and local ownership of decision making
  •  Reforming funding arrangements to support decision making at the local level
  •  Introducing simplified and meaningful monitoring and evaluation frameworks that reflect community perceptions of success.

The report also identifies areas where continued momentum can yield significant results, including joint planning and engagement between communities and government; a renewed focus on intergovernmental cooperation to achieve strategic objectives; ongoing government presence in communities; greater shared responsibility for accountability and transparency; and a strengthened independent monitoring and accountability mechanism.

“I thank Mr Gleeson for his report and the important assistance he provides in supporting real change in remote Indigenous communities,” Minister Scullion said.

Media contact: Minister’s Media contact: Russel Guse 0438 685645

CGRIS Contact: Llewella Jago 02 6146 2357

NACCHO Aboriginal suicide prevention: Black Dog Institute launches app to try to save lives

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ibobbly draws on stories from Aboriginal performers and uses psychological therapies proven to reduce suicidal thoughts

WATCH DETAILS OF THE APP on YOUTUBE

Consider the FACTS

  • Indigenous suicide rates five times higher than non-indigenous youth

  • New mobile app designed to provide culturally-relevant psychological care

  • Clinical trial launched by Yawuru man Patrick Dodson in Broome

Suicide rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are amongst the highest in the world.

Despite increased funding and implementation of new prevention programs, very few indigenous people will seek help before acting on suicidal thoughts.

Black Dog Institute, in partnership with WA-based suicide prevention group Alive and Kicking Goals, is launching a trial of the world’s first suicide prevention app designed especially for use by indigenous people on mobile phones or tablet devices.

Called iBobbly (a name derived from a Kimberley greeting), the app delivers treatment-based therapy in a culturally relevant way. Based on psychological therapies proven to reduce suicidal thoughts, it draws heavily on indigenous metaphors, images and stories drawn from local Aboriginal artists and performers.

According to Black Dog Institute researcher Professor Helen Christensen, the app format leaps two of the major hurdles to help seeking-Percieved stigma and isolation

We know that indigenous Australians are not seeking face to face mental health care, more than 70% of indigenous suicides occur in people who are not previously known to health services.

“Indigenous youth have a high rate of mobile phone usage  so it makes sense that we engage them on technology they are comfortable with and able to use in their own private time.”

“Once the app is downloaded they don’t need ongoing internet access and the program is password protected, thus maintaining confidentiality if the technology is shared amongst the community.”

“The initial pilot trial being run in WA will allow us to test and refine the program. We hope to expand iBobbly access to indigenous people living in other States later in 2014.”

iBobbly is funded by the Australian Government and NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention. The program was developed in partnership with Alive and Kicking Goals, HITnet Innovations,

Thoughtworks, Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit UNSW and the Young and Well Cooperative ResearchCentre. Samsung generously donated 150 tablets for the trial.

Interviews are available with Prof Helen Christensen (Black Dog Institute) and Joe Tighe (Alive and Kicking Goals).

Contact Joe Tighe on 0400 240 607 for more information.

Ends

UPDATE :NACCHO Launches new APP

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The NACCHO  APP promotes the sports healthy futures program that will give Aboriginal youth the opportunity to improve their overall health and wellbeing through active participation in sports.

Research shows that if a young person is happy and healthy they will be able to get the most out of their education, build their confidence and their self-belief and hopefully one day become a well-educated “Indigenous All-star” in the sport or employment of their choosing.” Mr. Mohamed said.

Mr. Mohamed said he is encouraging all  150 NACCHO members and stakeholders to promote the APP to their 5,000 staff and over 100,000 clients so that our community members can really have Aboriginal health in Aboriginal Hands. All ready in first few days over 1,000 Apps have been downloaded from the APP Store and Google Android store.

Here are the URL links to the App – alternatively you can type NACCHO into both stores and they come up!

iPhone/iPad

ios.giveeasy.org/naccho

Android

android.giveeasy.org/naccho

“The NACCHO App contains a geo locator, which will help you find the nearest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in your area and  provides heath information online and telephone on a wide range of topics and where you can go to get more information or assistance should you need urgent help “ Mr Mohamed said.

Health help includes:

Ambulance, Alcohol, Babies Breast Cancer, Cancer, Children,  Depression, Diabetes, Domestic Violence, Drugs, eHealth, Eye Health, Gambling, Healthy Eating, Hearing, Male health, Medicare, Mental Health, Prostate cancer, Smoking , Suicide, Teenagers, Women’s Health.

The NACCHO App allows users  to share, connect or contact NACCHO through our social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, daily news alerts and the NACCHO website.

– See more at: http://www.naccho.org.au/naccho-app/#sthash.wpLrnSWD.dpuf

NACCHO health training news:GP training extended to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations

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The community gets to keep their doctor and the doctor receives the support they need to achieve Fellowship .The community is the real winner.

Doctors working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS’s) will now be eligible to undertake vocational training towards fellowship of the RACGP & ACRRM via an extension to the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS).

There will be ten training positions available nationally for commencement in February 2014.

The RVTS extension is an Australian Government initiative designed to deliver structured distance education and supervision to doctors already providing medical services within ACCHS’s.

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The program is supported by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

Doctors will receive training over a 3 to 4 year period, while they continue to work in their health service.

Training will be delivered by distance education and remote supervision and will be specifically tailored to doctors working in indigenous communities.

The extension will deliver support to ACCHS’s doctors so that they don’t have to move to another community to access mainstream general practice training. “The community gets to keep their doctor and the doctor receives the support they need to achieve Fellowship” says RVTS Chief Executive Officer, Dr Pat Giddings. “The community is the real winner”.

For further information please contact Dr Pat Giddings 0408 573 933 or Denise Burnett (NACCHO) 0417 983 581

WEBSITE

NACCHO Smokefree news: Governments can’t make people healthy; we have to do it ourselves.”

World No Tobacco Day event

“In some of our communities smoking rates are higher, 80 per cent plus,” says Aboriginal elder and social rights campaigner, Dr Tom Calma AO. ( Pictured above left with NACCHO chair at our World No tobacco day in May)

“We’ve got a target to halve the smoking rate by 2018.”

People need to make informed decisions about their own health. Governments can’t make people healthy; we have to do it ourselves.”

Nearly three-quarters of Australian men and over a quarter of Australian women smoked in 1945.

Today, public health initiatives have helped reduce the number of smokers to around 17 per cent of the general population.

However, 47 per cent of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders are still smoking.

“In some of our communities it’s higher, 80 per cent plus,” says Aboriginal elder and social rights campaigner, Dr Tom Calma AO. “We’ve got a target to halve the smoking rate by 2018.”

Smoke

Calma is leading the charge as the National Co-coordinator for the Tacking Indigenous Smoking program, which he will be speaking about in his keynote address at the Commitment to Indigenous Health: Local and National Contributions to Meeting the Challenges conference this Wednesday.

“The Commonwealth Government has devoted $106M over four years to establish a work force across the nation to go out — outside of the clinical setting and into the community — to inform people about the hazards of smoking and the benefits of not smoking.”

Regional Tackling Smoking & Healthy Lifestyle Teams in 57 regions across the nation are working with smokers to help them kick the habit, and also with non-smokers to ensure they don’t start.

A far cry from the campaigns of shocking images and heartbreaking stories, Calma and his teams are approaching the problem from a different angle.

“My teams don’t always talk about the negative aspects of smoking; they put a positive spin on it,” says Calma.

“If you don’t smoke you are going to be healthier, you’re going to save money — up to $6000 a year for a pack a day smoker. And with that money you could then take your family on a holiday. The average pack a day smoker smokes the equivalent of four return air tickets to Los Angeles a year.”

“When we give them information in a way that’s non-threatening and they can understand, they respond.

“People need to make informed decisions about their own health. Governments can’t make people healthy; we have to do it ourselves.”

Dr Tom Calma AO is speaking at the Commitment to Indigenous Health: Local and National Contributions to Meeting the Challenges conference on Wednesday 2 October.

Indigenous Health Interest Group Research Showcase

Indigenous Health Interest Group & the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Wednesday, 2 October 2013 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (EST)

Registration is free and open to the public.

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NACCHO JOB Opportunities:

Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?

NACCHO as the national authority in comprenhesive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job oppportunities in the pipeline.

Register your current or future interest with our HR TEAM HERE

NACCHO Aboriginal health news alert :Over $140 billion spent on health in 2011–12

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More than $140 billion was spent on health in Australia in 2011-12, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE

The report, Health expenditure Australia 2011-12, shows health spending was estimated to be $140.2 billion in 2011-12-up from $132.6 billion in 2010-11 and from $82.9 billion 10 years earlier in 2001-02 (after adjusting for inflation).

SPEND ON INDIGENOUS HEALTH $4.60 Billion

Almost 70% of total health expenditure during 2011-12 was funded by governments, with the Australian Government contributing 42.4%, and state and territory governments contributing 27.3%. The remaining 30.3% was funded by individuals, private health insurers, and other non-government sources.

As a proportion of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP), health spending was 9.5% in 2011-12, up from 9.3% in 2010-11 and 8.4% in 2001-02.

‘Over the decade from 2001-02, the ratio of health spending as a proportion of GDP and taxation revenue has risen, particularly following the global financial crisis,’ said AIHW CEO David Kalisch.

Over the decade to 2011-12, the Australian Government ratio of health expenditure to taxation revenue rose by 4.0 percentage points to 26.4%, while the state and territory governments’ ratio rose by 8.1 percentage points to 24.5%.

‘Our analysis of health inflation suggests that in recent years annual price rises in the broader economy have generally been greater than price rises in the health sector’, Mr Kalisch said.

The estimated recurrent expenditure on health per person in 2011-12 was $5,881, a rise from $5,681 per person in 2010-11 and $4,062 in 2001-02 (after adjusting for inflation).

Public hospital spending was the biggest component of health expenditure in 2011-12, accounting for $42.0 billion, or 31.8% of recurrent expenditure. The largest component of the overall rise in health spending was also spending on public hospital services (up by $2.1 billion), making up almost a third of the growth in recurrent health expenditure.

The Australian Government’s share of public hospital funding was 38.2% in 2011-12, down from 39.6% in 2010-11. The state and territory governments’ share of public hospital expenditure was 53.3% in 2011-12, up from 52.0% in 2010-11.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.

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NACCHO JOB Opportunities:

Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?

NACCHO as the national authority in comprenhesive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job oppportunities in the pipeline.

Register your current or future interest with our HR TEAM HERE

NACCHO workforce news : Download the Independent Review of Health Workforce Programs Released

 

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Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek today released the final report of the independent review into Australian Government’s health workforce programs.

The report makes 87 recommendations covering Commonwealth programs that target the medical, dental, allied health, nursing and midwifery and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforces.

If you would like to make comment about this report there is a feedback section at ther bottom of this page

Download Mason Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs

NACCHO comments

Upon reading chapter 5, NACCHO has  noted that it contains much information provided to the various contributors of this review, from our sector.

NACCHO has participated in various degrees with some of the contributors: for example but not limited to:

  • National Health and Hospital Reform
  • The Workforce Roundtable consultation
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Project
  • CS&HISC environmental Scan
  • The Battye Review (subsequent report)
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework 2011-15
  • Lowitja Report

 It was pleasing to see that these consultations had value.

 The chapter highlights achievements but also addresses many of the challenges that still need to be addressed and recommendations that cannot be ignored if the Australian government are to significantly increase the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health workforce.

It addresses pay equity and funding of RTO’s. It promotes the continued funding of peak Aboriginal bodies.

The Review identifies the Blueprint for Action (the Pathways Paper) and some of the key recommendations within the Pathways Paper namely;

  •  The  need to provide training in career guidance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education workers and roles to supplement those of existing careers advisors;
  •  Education institutions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health  personal and communities should work in partnership to develop a culturally–inclusive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health curriculum in a multidisciplinary manner; and
  •  Tertiary education providers should consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on a whole-of-institution strategy to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in health courses. Strategies should include student support and curriculum matters.

The recommendations at the conclusion of chapter 5, if taken up by Government (namely the Commonwealth), will be the some key steps in building the workforce within our sector: i.e. (abbreviated recommendations)

Recommendation 5.1: must be coordination of activities aimed at building the capacity of theAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce..

Recommendation 5.2: continuation of funding to peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies/networks…

Recommendation 5.3: continue consultation with National Congress of Australia’s First people’s National Health Leadership Forum….

Recommendation 5.4:build on the success of LIME by reconfiguring this group to include support and mentoring for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary level health professions including nurses, midwives, dentists and allied health professions….

Recommendation 5.5: develop and implement a new program aimed at; increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health student enrolment and graduate numbers, and pursuing the development of culturally appropriate curriculum into all health courses…

Recommendation 5.6:  compliment 5.5 by the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic leaders/champions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support networks that would provide culturally appropriate mentoring, counselling….

Recommendation 5.7: take action to implement those recommendations directed to the RTO as outlined in the Battye Review……

Recommendation 5.8: consider options for the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Policy Adviser role…

Recommendation 5.9: the NT Medical Program Indigenous Transitions Pathway program to be evaluated to assess outcomes

Recommendation 5.10:  is a DWEER program responsibility re investigating the connectivity of education and training sectors from school through the VET sector and onto undergraduate studies, with multiple entry points for younger and mature students

Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek

“I commissioned this review of our health workforce programs to ensure that Australian communities have access to a highly qualified health workforce now and into the future,” Ms Plibersek said.

“As a first step in responding to the review, I have accepted the report’s recommendations to provide a more advanced system for classifying rural locations and areas of workforce need to determine eligibility for support and funding through many Commonwealth workforce programs.

“This will build on and update the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) system, providing customised enhancements to current methods of determining eligibility for program support.

“I have announced the formation of the Rural Classification Technical Working Group to guide the implementation of the improved classification system that will deliver a fairer and more sustainable method of determining the level of support doctors in each community receives. We will also consider the recommended reforms to the Districts of Workforce Shortage system as part of this process.”

Ms Plibersek said the Government will also develop a model for a new and more integrated rural training pathway for medical graduates, with the potential to extend this approach to other health disciplines.

“This model will be designed to build on the Government’s existing rural health training initiatives so that students who are interested in a career in rural health have a more seamless transition between their education, training and employment.

“The training model will be designed to improve the distribution of health professionals to rural areas, and if successful it will help deliver new doctors to areas of significant workforce shortages.”

The report was led by former Director General of the NSW Departments of Human Services and Community Services, Ms Jennifer Mason, and was informed through an extensive consultation process.

“I’d like to thank Ms Mason for delivering this important report, and for the health community’s involvement to help guide its development,” Ms Plibersek said.

“The report has raised a number of critical issues covering our health workforce programs and key reform areas. We will now carefully consider all the recommendations and any potential implications they may have,” she said.

The Australian Government has invested more than $5.6 billion into training the nation’s health workforce to deliver more doctors, nurses and other health professionals to where they are needed.

Download Mason Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs

NACCHO’s National Governance Project Officer wins a prestigious Board Diversity Scholarship

Donisha DuFf

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The Australian Institute of Company Directors today joined with the Federal Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, to announce the recipients of the coveted Board Diversity Scholarships.

 NACCHO’s  National Governance Project Officer Donisha Duff along with  Jody Currie from  Queensland’s  Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) were two of these recipients.

For further information on NACCHO Governance and Member Support Initiative

Jointly funded by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Government, the Board Diversity Scholarship program has awarded 70 scholarships to high performing women such as Donisha nd Jodie across Australia to attend the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ highly regarded Company Directors Course or Mastering the Boardroom program. Recipients also receive a free 12 month membership of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 The 2012 round of the program attracted more than 1600 applications, with recipients selected based on their experience and readiness for the boardroom by a committee of representatives of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Government’s Office for Women.

 “Successful applicants were able to demonstrate their significant experience and a high degree of leadership potential and capacity,” said John Colvin, Chief Executive and Managing Director, Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 “Nationally, the 70 recipients represent a diverse range of qualifications and experience ranging from the more traditional directorships pathways of banking, finance, accounting and law to the less traditional pathways of communications, human resources, small business, marketing, science and academia,” said Mr Colvin.

 The scholarship program is one of the initiatives by the Australian Institute of Company Directors to support board diversity that includes the Chairmen’s Mentoring Program, Public Sector Mentoring Program, Board Ready program and the Victorian Women’s Governance Scholarship program, for women in the Victorian NFP and community sector.

 Real time statistics compiled by the Australian Institute of Company Directors show that in recent years the number of women on our top boards has grown from around 8 per cent (2008) to 15.2 per cent today. This figure rises to almost 20 per cent when looking at the ASX 20 and ASX 50.

 “The growing numbers of women on our most elite boards prove that companies recognise that a gender-diverse board is good for business and that they are actively seeking out female talent,” said John Colvin.

 “We hope that over time, initiatives like this scholarship program will be extremely valuable and help women to achieve their career goals, as well as further lifting the number of women on our boards,” he said. We are pleased to work with the Australian Government on this important project.”

Background

 The Australian Institute of Company Directors provides education, information and advocacy for company directors Australia wide, with offices in each state to cater for 26,700 members. Our members work in diverse corporations such as small-to-medium enterprises, the ASX200 corporations, public sector organisations, not-for-profit companies, large private companies and smaller private family concerns

Background

 NACCHO  Governance and Member Support Initiative

 Good governance is the foundation for sustainability in all organisations.

  The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health (ACCH) Sector is unique and requires good governance principals and practices that are suitable and adaptive to local diversity, while still upholding quality standards and compliance with legislative frameworks.

 The goal of the NACCHO Governance and Member Support Initiative is to support, enhance and extend the implementation and maintenance of good practice in governance on a coordinated and consistent basis across the ACCH Sector.

 The GMS Initiative will establish Affiliate Member Support Units in each State and Territory to ensure a proactive environment that supports and strengthens ACCH organisations.

 Objectives

  •To create effective and culturally informed National Guiding Principles and Guidelines on Good Governance for the ACCH Sector.

 •To establish a sustainable model for the provision of capacity-strengthening and crisis intervention governance support, mentoring and advice to ACCH organisations in all jurisdictions.

 For further INFORMATION

NACCHO News:Indigenous spend topping $25 billion:plus Q& A about the report

From the Australian 4 September 2012

Download report here

Or for the 33 page health report download

PUBLIC spending on indigenous Australia jumped to $25.4 billion in just two years amid a growing debate over whether the cash is improving education, health and employment for 575,000 people. A surge in school funding tops the spending increases revealed in a federal government analysis that shows total outlays have risen to $44,128 for every indigenous person.

The 300-page report, to be released today, confirms the challenges facing Aboriginal communities as spending on public order and safety rises 20 per cent to $3.2bn. Community safety now costs $5555 a person in indigenous Australia each year, six times the amount per capita for similar services in the rest of the country. The findings heighten the debate over whether current policies are halting indigenous disadvantage, in the wake of separate government reports that warned of “dismal” results from billions of dollars in taxpayer funds.

The Productivity Commission checked 86 spending programs to conclude that federal, state and local government spending reached $25.4bn in the 2011 financial year, 5.6 per cent of public spending on all Australians. Indigenous Australians make up 2.6 per cent of the population. The total outlay is up 16 per cent from the commission’s last Indigenous Expenditure Report, for the 2009 financial year, when annual outlay for each indigenous person was $40,228. Governments spent $19,589 a person last year on the non-indigenous.

Outlays on school education rose more than any of the main categories tracked by the report, with total funding up 50 per cent over two years to $3.1bn across all governments. Social security rose 10 per cent over the same period to $3.8bn, with the amount spent per person each year going from $6264 to $6527. Labour and employment programs cost $1910 a person, about five times the amount spent on similar measures for non-indigenous people. The total outlay on these schemes was $1.1bn, up 12 per cent from the same report two years ago.

While the report makes few findings on the effectiveness of each program, it comes at a time when other government studies warn of slow progress on “closing the gap” between indigenous and mainstream Australia. The rise from $21.9bn to $25.4bn took place from 2008-09 to 2010-11, an increase of 16 per cent. Inflation would account for about 5 per cent of the increase over the two years.

The number of indigenous people used in the report’s calculations rose from about 545,000 in the first to 575,000 in the second, and the Productivity Commission said that changes over time could reflect several factors, including a rise in demand for services. The amount spent per person rose 10 per cent to $44,128 over the two years, about twice the rate of inflation.

“The Australian government accounted for $11.5bn (45 per cent) of direct indigenous expenditure, with the remaining $13.9bn (55 per cent) provided by state and territory governments,” the commission says. The rise comes at a vexed time for policymakers after a series of dire warnings including alarm about the “huge gap” between policy intent and policy execution in a report by the federal Department of Finance last year

. “This major investment, maintained over so many years, has yielded dismally poor returns to date,” the department concluded in a report obtained by the Seven Network under Freedom of Information laws one year ago. Productivity Commission chairman Gary Banks declared last year that a majority of indicators showed “no improvement” in indigenous lives.

Today’s report makes no findings on the social outcomes from the spending, offering instead a collation of the levels and patterns of the outlays by federal, state and local governments. A separate analysis for federal and state governments found in June that progress was “slow” on the national plan to close the gap in indigenous death rates compared with national averages.

Today’s report shows that South Australia spends more on early child development, education and training than other states, with an average outlay of $9483 for every indigenous person. The state also has the highest outlay per indigenous student in primary and secondary schools. Of the total $39bn spent on school education across the country, about 40 per cent goes to secondary schools.

But in Aboriginal Australia only 31 per cent goes to secondary schools. “Social security support was the largest area of economic participation expenditure for indigenous Australians,” the commission says. Payments to the jobless accounted for 17 per cent of indigenous social security outlays, compared to 7.1 per cent of outlays for the non-indigenous

In another sign of the shorter life expectancy, assistance to the aged makes up only 7.4 per cent of payments to indigenous Australians. For the non-indigenous, the ratio is 37 per cent.

What is the purpose of the Indigenous Expenditure Report?

The disparity between outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians has been an ongoing concern for governments at all levels, Indigenous Australians and many members of the general community. Yet there has been limited information for assessing the adequacy, effectiveness and efficiency of expenditure on programs aimed at improving outcomes for Indigenous Australians. The Indigenous Expenditure Report contributes to the evidence base available to interested parties (including Indigenous Australians), by providing information on the levels and patterns of government expenditure on services provided to Indigenous Australians.

The Report provides estimates for 86 expenditure categories, mapped to six broad service areas — early child development, and education and training; healthy lives; economic participation; home environment; safe and supportive communities; and other government services — that align, at a high level, to the Closing the Gap building blocks.

For more information, refer to chapter 1 of the Report.

How will the Indigenous Expenditure Report make a difference to Indigenous Australians?

The Report is not expected to affect outcomes for Indigenous Australians directly — rather, it provides an additional tool to assist policy makers to shape government policy, and to allow other interested parties to hold governments to account.

The Report provides estimates of government expenditure across key outcome areas such as: education; justice; health; housing, community services; employment; and other government services. Information about the levels and patterns of government expenditure on services related to Indigenous Australians can help those developing and assessing policies to Close the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

For more information, refer to chapter 1 of the Report.

How does the Report estimate Indigenous expenditure?

Government services related to Indigenous Australians are provided through a combination of Indigenous specific (targeted) and mainstream (available to all Australians) services. While expenditure on Indigenous specific services can generally be assumed to relate exclusively to Indigenous Australians, the proportion of expenditure on mainstream services that relates to Indigenous Australians is often not recorded systematically, and has been estimated for the purpose of the Report.

The Indigenous Expenditure Report approach to estimating expenditure on services related to Indigenous Australians involves two stages:

  • identification of total expenditure by service area and, where applicable, total expenditure for Indigenous specific programs and services
  • proration (or allocation) of mainstream (that is, non‑Indigenous specific) expenditure between Indigenous and non‑Indigenous Australians. To allocate mainstream expenditure, the Report uses measures of service use that are closely related to service cost drivers (for example, the number of students enrolled in secondary schools).

The 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report is the second in a series. The estimation method used in this report builds on the work undertaken for the 2010 Report, with a number of major improvements. These improvements mean that the estimates in the 2012 Report are not comparable to the estimates in the 2010 Report.

The Report represents the best collective effort of the jurisdictions. However, estimating Indigenous expenditure is complex, and many data quality and methodological challenges are yet to be resolved. Interpreting the estimates requires an understanding of the strengths and limitations of the method and data (chapter 2), and the context within which Indigenous services are provided (chapter 3).

For more information, refer to chapter 2, and the Expenditure Data Manual and Service Use Measure Definitions Manual, available from the project website: http://www.pc.gov.au/ier.

What does the Report tell us about government expenditure on Indigenous Australians?

The 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report estimates that:

  • total direct Indigenous expenditure in 2010-11 amounted to $25.4 billion, accounting for 5.6 per cent of total direct government expenditure. Indigenous Australians make up 2.6 per cent of the population

–    the Australian Government accounted for $11.5 billion (45 per cent) of Indigenous direct expenditure, with the remaining $13.9 billion (55 per cent) provided by State and Territory governments

–    mainstream services accounted for $19.9 billion (78 per cent) of Indigenous direct expenditure, with the remaining $5.5 billion (22 per cent) provided through Indigenous specific (targeted) services

  • estimated expenditure per head of population was $44 128 for Indigenous Australians, compared with $19 589 for non-Indigenous Australians in 2010-11, (a ratio of 2.25:1). The $24 538 per person difference reflected the combined effects of:

–    greater intensity of service use ($16 109 or 66 per cent) — Indigenous Australians use more services per capita because of greater need, and because of characteristics such as the younger age profile of the Indigenous population

–    additional costs of providing services ($8429 or 34 per cent) — it can cost more to provide services to Indigenous Australians if mainstream services are more expensive to provide (for example, because of location), or if Indigenous Australians receive targeted services in addition to mainstream services (for example liaison officers in hospitals).

The printed report provides estimates of expenditure on six broad categories of services that relate to the COAG building blocks. At a national level, in 2010‑11:

  • early child development, and education and training — an estimated $2.44 was spent per Indigenous Australian for every dollar spent per non‑Indigenous Australian
  • healthy lives — an estimated $2.02 was spent per Indigenous Australian for every dollar spent per non‑Indigenous Australian
  • economic participation — an estimated $1.96 was spent per Indigenous Australian for every dollar spent per non‑Indigenous Australian
  • home environment — an estimated $2.16 was spent per Indigenous Australian for every dollar spent per non‑Indigenous Australian
  • safe and supportive communities — an estimated $4.50 was spent per Indigenous Australian for every dollar spent per non‑Indigenous Australian
  • other government expenditure — an estimated $1.19 was spent per Indigenous Australian for every dollar spent per non‑Indigenous Australian.

More detailed estimates for 86 expenditure categories by level of government are available electronically from the project website.

For more information, refer to the Report Overview, and each building block chapter.

Why can it cost more to provide services to Indigenous Australians?

On average, direct expenditure per head of population for Indigenous Australians ($44 128) was $24 538 higher than direct expenditure per head of population for non‑Indigenous Australians ($19 589). Around $8429 (34 per cent) of this difference was due to additional costs of providing services. These additional costs have two components:

  • mainstream service cost differentials — any additional cost of providing mainstream services to Indigenous Australians, for reasons such as location, culture and language. For social security payments, mainstream service cost differentials reflect differences in the average payment to Indigenous and non-Indigenous recipients when assessed against eligibility criteria
  • Indigenous specific services that complement mainstream services — services that Indigenous Australians use in addition to a mainstream service; for example, Indigenous student counsellors in schools.

For more information, refer to chapters 2 and 3 of the Report.

Why do Indigenous Australians use some services more intensively?

On average, direct expenditure per head of population for Indigenous Australians ($44 128) was $24 538 higher than direct expenditure per head of population for non‑Indigenous Australians ($19 589). Around $16 109 (66 per cent) of this difference was due to greater intensity of service use. Intensity of service use has two components:

  • Indigenous use of mainstream services — the estimated Indigenous share of mainstream expenditure is proportional to Indigenous use of mainstream services.

The per capita intensity of service use is higher if, on average, Indigenous Australians tend to use more services than non-Indigenous Australians — either because of greater individual need, or because a higher proportion of the Indigenous population belongs to the age group likely to use those services

  • Indigenous specific services that substitute for mainstream services — these are services that Indigenous Australians use instead of a similar mainstream service.

For more information, refer to chapters 2 and 3 of the Report.

How reliable are the estimates?

The Report represents the best collective effort of the jurisdictions. However, users of the estimates should be aware of the following potential issues:

  • report scope — the Report includes estimates of Australian Government, and State and Territory government expenditure, including payments to local governments. However, it does not include expenditure by local governments
  • assumptions underpinning the model — the Report method involves a number of assumptions, which affect how estimates should be interpreted
  • data quality — the Report draws on the best available data from many sources. However, in some cases, required data were not available, or were of relatively poor quality.

The Steering Committee uses the following methods to explain and improve the estimates:

  • data quality statements — any potential sources of uncertainty in data are highlighted by providing data quality statements for all major data sources, using the Australian Bureau of Statistics data quality framework
  • subjective assessment of the reliability of model estimates — the Steering Committee has undertaken a subjective assessment of the reliability of the major parameters  underpinning the estimates in the report. These are presented in appendix B of the report.
  • continual improvement — the Steering Committee will continue to work with governments and data agencies to improve the quality of the estimates over time.

For more information, refer to chapter 2 and appendix B of the Report, and the Service Use Measure Definitions Manual, which are available from the project website: http://www.pc.gov.au/ier.

Why is it difficult to compare expenditure across jurisdictions?

Although the Indigenous Expenditure Report provides estimates for all jurisdictions, several factors influence the comparability of the estimates. These include:

  • jurisdictions’ inconsistent identification of Indigenous specific services
  • jurisdictions’ inconsistent allocation of expenditure to the agreed framework of expenditure categories
  • the organisation of services within jurisdictions (that is, whether services are provided by general government, by government owned businesses, or by the private sector). The scope of the Report is limited to general government expenditure, so different approaches to service delivery can lead to significant variations in estimated expenditure.

The Expenditure Data Manual provides guidelines for recording expenditure against a nationally consistent framework. These guidelines are refined with each report which will contribute to an improvement in the comparability of expenditure between jurisdictions over time. Each jurisdiction has also provided comments to aid interpretation, which are presented in chapter three of the Report.

For more information, refer to chapter 3 of the Report.

How is the Indigenous Expenditure Report different from other Indigenous-focused reports, such as the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report?

The Indigenous Expenditure Report is designed to complement other reporting initiatives and to contribute information that is not otherwise available. The Indigenous Expenditure Report provides estimates of government expenditure on services related to Indigenous Australians across key outcome areas such as: education; health; housing; employment; community services; justice; and other government services, mapped at a high level to the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage strategic areas for action. The Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report provides information about the disparities in outcomes for Indigenous Australians. In combination, the information from both reports will allow high level comparisons of changes in expenditure levels and changes in key outcomes. This will provide a basis for richer assessment of policies designed to Close the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

For more information, refer to chapter 2 of the Report, and the Expenditure Data Manual and Service Use Measure Definitions Manual, which are available from the project website: http://www.pc.gov.au/ier.

Why are estimates different to those published in other expenditure reports?

The Indigenous Expenditure Report allocates government expenditure using the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Government Purpose Classification framework. The expenditure in this report is therefore conceptually reconcilable to the ABS Government Finance Statistics publications. Data are also consistent with the whole of government expenditure data reported in budget papers and financial reports. However the Indigenous Expenditure Report presents separate estimates for:

  • direct expenditure — expenditure on services and programs that are paid directly to individuals, non-government service providers, or local governments. For example, unemployment benefits that are paid by the Australian Government directly to eligible recipients, or expenditure on school education services by State and Territory governments
  • indirect expenditure — payments or transfers made between jurisdictions, or between different levels of government. Indirect expenditure includes Australian Government general revenue assistance to State and Territory governments (such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) payments), which they then allocate to different areas. A large proportion of Australian Government expenditure is indirect
  • total expenditure — direct plus indirect expenditure, which reconciles to jurisdictions’ budget papers and financial reports.

The printed report summarises one sub-set of the available estimates — direct expenditure — for 2010-11. These are considered robust estimates of the amounts directly spent by the Australian Government, and State and Territory governments on services in 2010-11. More detailed information, including additional expenditure categories, estimates for 2008-09 and estimates for Australian Government total (direct plus indirect) expenditure are available from the project website.

For more information, refer to chapter 2 of the Report.

What needs to be considered when comparing expenditure over time?

The project website provides estimates for 2008-09 and 2010-11. These two periods are not intended to represent particular benchmarks against which future expenditure should be compared. Caution should be exercised when interpreting differences between any two points in time because government expenditure, particularly for more disaggregated expenditure categories, can change over time for a number of reasons, including:

  • increase in demand for government services — generally, increases in the level of demand for particular services will increase expenditure, particularly where expenditure based on meeting eligibility criteria is uncapped (for example, expenditure on unemployment benefits or Medicare)
  • the effects of inflation — to determine actual movement in expenditure, the effect of inflation needs to be removed. However, it is difficult to distinguish changes in price from changes in the level of services government provide, particularly at an aggregated level. This report does not remove the effect of inflation from time series data, and caution should be taken when comparing data over time
  • new policies and changes to existing entitlements — changes in government policies over time can cause significant movements in expenditure. Significant ‘one-off’ global financial crisis stimulus expenditures influenced the 2008-09 estimates. On the other hand, expenditure on many Closing the Gap initiatives did not commence until after 2008-09
  • changes to the allocation of expenditure — the Expenditure Data Manual provides guidelines for allocating outlays to the appropriate expenditure categories. However, changes in the machinery of government, information systems and accounting policies can result in different allocations of expenditure over time (particularly detailed levels of disaggregation).

Future Indigenous Expenditure Reports are expected to provide more robust information about trends in expenditure over time, as more years of data become available and the quality of data improves.

For more information, refer to chapter 2 of the Report.