Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 918 ..
(1) (b) In order to assess funding priorities, the ACT Government utilises a wide range of information, including:
demographic and epidemiological information on the health status of current of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and their use of health services
consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and theircommunity controlled organisations, including through the Aboriginal Health Forum
consultation with mainstream health services and organisations and Aboriginal staff employed by them
national policy directions, such as the National Indigenous Sexual Health Strategy.
These and other information sources will be brought together in a coordinated way through the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, which is currently being drafted and is expected to be release by mid 1999. It will identify priority health issues and areas of unmet need requiring funding.
(2) As mentioned above, a report on State and Territory performance against national performance indicators of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health will be available later this year and I would be happy to provide you with a copy of that information when it becomes available. In the interim, Monograph Series Number 4, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People in the ACT, has prepared by the Health Status Monitoring Epidemiology Unit and provided to the Member. This monograph provides information which will supplement the reports on the National Performance Indicators and Targets. It is also included to demonstrate that, while the lower number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT makes it difficult to interpret health data, the Department is endeavouring to collect and report on available data regarding the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
(3) (a) The figure of $659 per capita health expenditure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is an estimate from a report entitled "Expenditures on Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People", published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in May 1998. This report estimated that the ACT's gross expenditure on health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was $659 per person compared to $869 per capita for non-indigenous people in the ACT. These estimates were for expenditures reported for 1995-96.
(3) (b) The AIHW Report urged caution in considering the figures, due to some methodological problems in the collection and reporting of the data. In retrospect, it appears that $659 per capita may have been a significant underestimate of expenditure.
By far the largest proportion of expenditure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in the ACT and all other jurisdictions was for in-patient hospital care. Accurate reporting in this category requires the clear identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and the AIHW Report assumed that identification of indigenous status in the ACT was effectively complete.