Australia’s Healthcare System – Government Responsibilities

Australia’s healthcare system is funded 48% by the federal Commonwealth government, 23% by state, territory and local governments and 29% by the non-government sector (including individuals).  Over 90% of health expenditure goes towards curative measures (reflecting the biomedical model of health), while only 2-5% is spent on health promotion.

You should be able to list some of the federal, state and local government’s responsibilities in relation to health, healthcare, and health funding – either in general or linked to specific conditions.

Federal Government Responsibilities

  • management and funding of Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • management of private health insurance
  • management and funding of national health promotion programs, e.g. Shape Up
  • management of quarantine
  • purchase of vaccines
  • management and funding of aged care/HACC services

State Government Responsibilities

  • provision and funding of public hospital services
  • provision (not funding, individuals pay) of ambulance services
  • provision of community health services (child, youth, family, school, dental, sexual health)
  • funding health promotion programs through bodies like VicHealth

Local Government Responsibilities

  • organise local immunisation programs
  • maintain sanitary environment
  • maintain roads and public places to uphold safety and reduce injury
  • organise and maintain recreational and cultural facilities
  • local maternal and child services