The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report measured a total rise in expenditure on indigenous health services of 18 percent in the three years to 2001-2002.
“The figures show we only spend $1.18 on Aborigines for every $1 we spend on the rest of the indigenous population, yet their health status seems to be so much worse,” Tom Hynes from the AIHW Expenditure Unit told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
Mr Hynes said that in light of the appalling rates of illness affecting indigenous communities more money needs to be spent.
He said that the higher level of spending also did not reflect the lack of access to medical treatment many Aborigines experienced.
According to the report, indigenous people living in urban areas showed a widespread reluctance to use mainstream services with just 39 percent using Medicare and 33 percent the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
For non-urban communities, the added problem of providing healthcare in remote areas had a significant impact on overall indigenous health costs.
“On average, 26 percent of the indigenous population live in remote and very remote areas of Australia, and two percent of the rest of the Australian population live in those sorts of areas,” Mr Hynes said.
The report follows the release of a survey commissioned by the Council of Australian Governments, which listed a host of endemic social, criminal and health problems that are afflicting indigenous Australians.
“Indigenous mortality rates are three times that of the general community and indigenous people die on average 18 years younger than the average for all Australians,” Mr Hynes said.
The Australian Medical Association last week repeated its call for a further $400 million a year to be channelled into indigenous health and turn around the extreme disadvantage shortening the lives of Aboriginal people.