Indigenous Australians Receive 2.5 Times More Health Funding than Non-Indigenous Australians

Sue Dunlevy, The Australian, November 2, 2011

Indigenous Australians are receiving up to two and a half times more health funding than non-indigenous Australians and they are six times more likely to be hospitalised for kidney disease and childhood preventable diseases, a new report shows.

On average, for every $1 spent per person on non-indigenous healthcare $1.39 was spent on indigenous health in 2008-09, an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released today shows.

But in remote and very remote areas, health spending per person was as high as $2.41 on indigenous Australians for every $1 spent on indigenous Australians.

The statistics reflect the poor health of indigenous Australians and the fact they are likely to die 11.5 years earlier than other Australians.

Kidney disease and mental and behavioural disorders top the spending list for indigenous Australians while cardiovascular disease and unintentional injuries were the most costly areas of expenditure for non-indigenous Australians.

Indigenous Australians received only around half the Medicare and pharmaceutical benefit scheme subsidies of non-indigenous Australians.

On average, PBS expenditure per person was $250 for indigenous Australians and $338 for non-indigenous Australians.

However, hospital expenditure per person was much higher for indigenous Australians and they were much more likely to attend indigenous health services.

The report shows indigenous Australians are 37 times more likely to be hospitalised for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea and 2.26 times more likely to be in hospital as a result of type 2 diabetes.

Indigenous Australians are 1.76 times more likely to be hospitalised for mental and behavioural disorders and 3.5 times more likely to be in hospital for alcohol dependence.

Indigenous children were six times more likely to be hospitalised for vaccine-preventable childhood diseases, such as whooping cough, than non-indigenous children.

Private hospital expenditure was considerably less for indigenous Australians, AIHW spokesperson Nigel Harding said.

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  • Anonymous

    You can have all the health funding in the world, but if you deliberately chhose to live an unhealthy lifestyle and engage in reckless acts, it won’t make much difference.

  • A Comment from Australia

    I recently witnessed the following very sad incident in the main street of a medium sized NSW country town.

    A young Aboriginal woman was being arrested for being drunk and disorderly. She was prostituting herself and yelling abuse to all passers by. It was in front of a well known fast food outlet. I observed that the the police first put on rubber gloves before they made the arrest.

    Tragic, very much so, but it says a lot about the Aboriginal health problem here. Poor nutrition (junk food) sugar problems, (more junk food) sexual immorality, filth, alcohol abuse and a culture of violence.

    Now we will consider what would have happened to this poor young lady if she had lived before the white man came. It is possible that she would have been given as a child bride to the elders of her own tribe or as a peace offering to a rival tribe. Her life expectancy would have been less that 30 years. Her short life would have been tough in the extreme trying to exist and feed her children off the land in the world’s harshest environment. It would not have been some utopian existence living in harmony with nature!

    As for Aboriginal health in the 21st century. As I have said before start of by shooting all the stray mangey dogs in their settlements, give them soap and water and teach them how to use it. Then teach them nutrition and basic hygiene. None of this will cost billions and may actually work.

  • Jeddermann.

    “unintentional injuries”

    The result of “rivers of grog” probably. Driving while drunk, falling off a cliff or down a flight of stairs, walking out into traffic and getting hit by a car, drowning in a pool of water several inches [centimeters] deep, etc.

    Too, eating a diet not commensurate with their metabolism. Trying to eat the whitey dairy based diet which they literally cannot stomach. Same as the Bantu in the U.S.

  • White australian

    The bleeding heart brigade don’t seem to realise that when aborigines choose to live in outback camps hundreds of kilometers from civilization, it’s not feasible to provide first-class facilities to them. They’ll say that failure to provide a hospital for every settlement, which may only number a few dozen aborigines, is racism, when it’s plainly obvious that it’s a simple matter of economics.

    But, even in the cities they die much earlier (which isn’t a bad thing) because their bodies (and minds) aren’t able to handle the western style diet, and their alcohol, substance abuse and violence problems don’t help either.

  • John Engelman

    The report shows indigenous Australians are…2.26 times more likely to be in hospital as a result of type 2 diabetes.

    Indigenous Australians are 1.76 times more likely to be hospitalised for mental and behavioural disorders and 3.5 times more likely to be in hospital for alcohol dependence.

    – Sue Dunlevy, The Australian, November 2, 2011

    ———–

    Human populations that have been recently introduced to agriculture are more likely to suffer type 2 diabetes because their bodies have not evolved to handle the high carbohydrate diets that began with the shift from the high meat diet of paleolithic hunters to the high grain diet of agricultural peoples.

    Caucasians, and especially Mediterranean peoples have consumed wine and beer for as long as five thousand years, so they are less likely to be alcoholics. Plains Indians and Australian Aborigines went from no alcohol to distilled spirits in a single generation. Consequently they have not evolved sufficiently to handle alcoholic beverages, especially distilled alcohol.

    Mental and behavioural disorders trouble Australian Aborigines because they are psychologically suited for a hunter gatherer existence, rather than an urban, industrial, technological society.

    Australian aborigines are not biologically suited for “freedom,” however one defines that term other than the absence of slavery or incarceration. They need, and most of them probably want, benevolent paternalism. Fortunately, Australian Social Democracy provides that more generously than the American free enterprise system would.

    Americans blacks are better off than African blacks, so I do not feel guilty about their circumstances. Australian Aborigines would be better off if the whites had never come.

  • John

    Before the white man came aboriginals lived on a traditional

    diet of meat from wild animals,plants(bush tucker) and for those

    on the coast fish,shellfish,algae etc. Diabetes ,heart disease

    and other diet related issues were unheard of.They might not have lived to a hundred years but in some ways they were much better of

    living a hunting,nomadic existence.

    Govt has literally thrown billions including sending the military in to settlements to prevent child abuse etc with little good coming out of it.A stone age culture with a low IQ

    susceptible to chronic alcohol and drug abuse is not going

    to be radically transformed by extra govt funding