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Indigenous Expenditure Report 2014

The 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report was released on 12 December 2014. It provides estimates of government expenditure on services provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians by the Australian Government, and State and Territory governments.

The Report:

  • includes all Australian and State/Territory government recurrent expenditure disaggregated into 159 separate service areas - not just expenditure aimed at closing the gap in outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians
  • includes targeted Indigenous-specific expenditure (20 per cent) plus the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander share of mainstream expenditure (80 per cent)
    • three quarters of mainstream expenditure is estimated based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' use of services
    • the remainder is estimated using the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander share of the total Australian population
  • provides all the information necessary for readers to analyse the expenditure estimates for all 159 service categories - in the report, data tables and manuals
  • does not assess the adequacy, effectiveness or efficiency of expenditure - to do so would require detailed policy and program evaluations.

Download the report

  • At a glance
  • Data tables
  • Method and manuals

Key points

  • This Report provides estimates of government expenditure across 159 expenditure categories, mapped to the COAG National Indigenous Reform Agreement building blocks. When combined with other information, the estimates contribute to a better understanding of the adequacy, effectiveness and efficiency of government expenditure on services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
  • Some national level data are summarised here. There are significant variations across service categories and across states and territories (more information is available from this project website).
  • Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was estimated to be $30.3 billion, accounting for 6.1 per cent of total direct general government expenditure. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians made up 3.0 per cent of the population in 2013.
  • Indigenous expenditure increased in real terms by $5.0 billion (19.9 per cent) from 2008-09 to 2012-13, while non-Indigenous expenditure increased by 9.0 per cent. Expenditure per Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person increased by 10.3 per cent, and expenditure per non Indigenous person increased by 2.2 per cent.
  • Estimated expenditure per person in 2012-13 was $43 449 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, compared with $20 900 for other Australians (a ratio of 2.08 to 1 - an increase from a ratio of 1.93 to 1 in 2008-09). The $22 550 per person difference in 2012-13 reflected the combined effects of:
    • greater intensity of service use ($15 438 or 68.5 per cent) - because of greater need, and because of the younger age profile of the population
    • higher cost of providing services ($7112 or 31.5 per cent) - for example, because of location, or because targeted services are provided in addition to mainstream services (for example, Indigenous liaison officers in hospitals).
  • Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was made up of:
    • $24.7 billion (or $35 313 per person) on services where expenditure is directly related to service use (a proxy for 'on the ground' services)
    • $5.7 billion (or $8137 per person) on services where expenditure is attributed on the basis of their share of the population (expenditure in areas such as defence, foreign affairs and industry assistance, which benefits all Australians equally).
  • The Australian Government accounted for $14.1 billion (46.6 per cent) of direct Indigenous expenditure in 2012-13 (an increase of $2.4 billion (20.3 per cent) in real terms from 2008-09) with the remaining $16.2 billion (53.4 per cent) provided by State and Territory governments (an increase of $2.6 billion (19.5 per cent) in real terms from 2008-09).
  • Mainstream services accounted for $24.7 billion (81.4 per cent) of direct Indigenous expenditure in 2012-13 (a real increase of $5.1 billion (26.0 per cent) from 2008-09) with the remaining $5.6 billion (18.6 per cent) provided through Indigenous specific (targeted) services (a real decrease of $0.1 billion (1.2 per cent) from 2008-09).
  • For information on a wide range of outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, see the Steering Committee's report Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2014.

Media release

2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report

The 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report was released on 12 December 2014. Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was estimated to be $30.3 billion, accounting for 6.1 per cent of total direct general government expenditure. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians made up 3.0 per cent of the population in 2013.

Total estimated expenditure per person across all government programs in 2012-13 was $43 449 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, compared with $20 900 for other Australians (a ratio of 2.08 to 1 - an increase from a ratio of 1.93 to 1 in 2008-09).

It is important to note that the report does not assess the adequacy, effectiveness or efficiency of government spending.

Peter Harris, Chairman of the Productivity Commission and Chair of the COAG Steering Committee, said 'This report of total government expenditure and the information on outcomes in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report are two critical building blocks. Governments, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and researchers have the opportunity to use these reports to consider the effectiveness and efficiency of government expenditure. In that way this Report will contribute to better policy making and improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.'

While the estimates in the Report represent the best collective effort of the jurisdictions, identifying the Indigenous component of expenditure is difficult and the estimates should be used with care.

This is the third in a series of biennial reports, produced by the Productivity Commission for a Steering Committee of senior officials for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

A broad range of information on this report is available from the project website, including fact sheets for each jurisdiction.

The following data files provide detailed estimates that are summarised in the 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report.

In addition to the tables on this page, the 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report itself contains seven tables of high level data, and the factsheets also contain high level data by state/territory and by service areas (National Indigenous Reform Agreement building blocks).

Please note: The 2008-09 and 2010-11 estimates in the 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report supersede the 2008-09 and 2010-11 estimates in the 2010 and 2012 editions of the Report. The 2014 Report estimates reflect improvements to the data underpinning those estimates, particularly revised population data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

For some expenditure categories, there are variations from the 2008-09 and 2010-11 estimates presented in the previous Reports. The 2010 and 2012 Report estimates were correct at the time of publication but are now outdated due to these changes and should no longer be used. Users of the Report wishing to analyse 2008-09 and 2010-11 expenditure data should use the 2008-09 and 2010-11 data released as a part of the 2014 Report.

2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report standard tables (tables W.1 to W.24)

The standard tables provide more detailed estimates than are available in the Report and factsheets. The tables provide estimates for 2008-09, 2010-11 and 2012-13. Estimates are expressed as both aggregate expenditure ($ million) and expenditure per person ($/person). Estimates for 2008-09 and 2010-11 have been adjusted for inflation (real terms, 2012-13 dollars). The tables cover:

  • Indigenous expenditure program (Indigenous specific or mainstream)
  • Indigenous expenditure by government (Australian Government or State/Territory Government)
  • Indigenous expenditure by driver of expenditure (intensity of use/cost of provision)
  • Indigenous and non-Indigenous expenditure by government (Australian or State/Territory Government)

Users requiring more detailed data should use the 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report database (below).

2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report database (tables P.1 to P.14)

The 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report database comes in six Excel workbooks. Each workbook contains a series of pivot tables that allow users to create customised data tables.

All governments direct expenditure

There are two workbooks for comparing direct expenditure across governments - one containing estimates adjusted for inflation (expressed in 2012-13 dollars), and one with nominal expenditure.

(Please save and open files in your preferred software to ensure the file opens correctly)

Australian Government direct, indirect and total expenditure

There are two workbooks showing Australian Government direct, indirect and total expenditure - one containing estimates adjusted for inflation (expressed in 2012-13 dollars), and one with nominal expenditure).

(Please save and open files in your preferred software to ensure the file opens correctly)

State and Territory Governments direct, indirect and total expenditure

There are two workbooks showing State and Territory Government direct, indirect and total expenditure - one containing estimates adjusted for inflation (expressed in 2012-13 dollars), and one with nominal expenditure).

(Please save and open files in your preferred software to ensure the file opens correctly)

2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report unformatted CSV database

The 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report database is also provided as an unformatted CSV file for users who may wish to analyse the data using their own preferred statistical software.

These manuals relate to the 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report which was released on 12 December 2014. They explain the agreed:

  • definitions and methods that jurisdictions followed when providing expenditure data
  • service use measures.

Download the manuals

Printed copies

Printed copies of the report and manuals can be purchased from Canprint Communications.


Review of the Indigenous Expenditure Report

Please provide feedback on ways to further enhance the policy relevance of this report.

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