AUSTRALIA | Summary
- 1881: The first New South Wales Board of Health was established as a response to the smallpox epidemic under the provisions of the Infectious Diseases and Supervisions Act.
- 1896: First Public Health Act, responsible for increasing and clarifying the powers of the Board of Health.
- 1902: Revised Public Health Act, made a provision to increase the number of Health members on the Board
- 1904: Department of Public Health was established
- 1973: NSW Health commission was established which brought together psychiatric hospitals, community health services, and public health programs under the same body as that responsible for public hospitals. Board of health abolished in 1974.
- 1986: Area Health Boards, replaced many individual hospital boards.
- 1997: Health Services Act, consolidates the provisions of the former acts and introduces several new provisions for a modern healthcare system. Recognizes the importance of the roles of health promotion and education, community health, and environmental health services.
HEALTH & HEALTH SYSTEM
Although they have universal coverage, there is the option to purchase supplemental coverage through private insurance. This allows them to obtain additional coverage for general treatment or for hospital services. About 46% of the population opts in for private hospital services and 55% for general treatment such as dental, vision, and physiotherapy. The government encourages people to enroll in private insurance through a tax rebate depending on age and income. Higher-income individuals may have to pay a penalty for not having private insurance.6
All levels of government are heavily involved in the funding and delivery of healthcare. The federal government provides funding and indirect support for care and pharmaceutical as well as regulates private health insurance. They can influence the states and territories through financial arrangements such as grants and benefits to individuals or organizations. The federal government is also involved in framing broad national policies for the health system. States own and manage service delivery for public hospitals, ambulances, public dental care, community health, and mental health care. Local governments play a role in the delivery of community health and preventative health programs.6
HEALTH INDICATORS & DEMOGRAPHICS
- Life expectancy at birth: 82 years for males, 86 years for females
- Child mortality rate: 3.2 deaths per 1,000 live births
- Infant mortality rate: 2.7 deaths per 1,000 live births
- Maternal mortality rate: 6 deaths per 100,000 women giving birth
- Fertility rate: 1.8 live births per woman
- Prevalence of Obesity: 30.4%
- European White: 85%
- Asian: 12%
- Black: ~1%
- Aboriginal Ancestry: ~3%
- 0-14 years: 17.75%
- 15-24 years: 12.62%
- 25-54 years: 41.35%
- 55-64 years: 11.84%
1 Australia. (2020). Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org/country/australia
2 The World Bank. (2017). Current health expenditure (% of GDP). Data. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.CHEX.GD.ZS.
3 Australia Population (LIVE). Worldometer. (2020). https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/australia-population/.
4 Geography Now! Australia. (2015). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynHIlx5RgtI.
5 Healthcare Channel. (2020, May 22). The Rich History of the Australian Healthcare System. Healthcare Channel. https://healthcarechannel.co/the-rich-history-of-the-australian-healthca....
6 Tikkanen, R., Osborn, R., Mossialos, E., Djordjevic, A., & Wharton, G. A. (2020, June 5). Australia. Commonwealth Fund. https://www.commonwealthfund.org/international-health-policy-center/coun....
7 Australian Government Department of Health. (2019, August 7). The Australian health system. Australian Government Department of Health. https://www.health.gov.au/about-us/the-australian-health-system.
8 Hilless, M., & Healy, J. (2001). (rep.). Health Care Systems in Transition: Australia. European Observatory on Health Care Systems. Retrieved from https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/96434/E74466.pdf
9 Australia Age structure. Australia Age structure - Demographics. (2020). https://www.indexmundi.com/australia/age_structure.html.
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