Primary health care
In 2020–21, $73.4 billion was spent on primary health care. Of this, the Australian Government spent $33.5 billion (45.6%), non-government entities $27.6 billion (37.6%), and state and territory governments $12.3 billion (16.8%) (Figure 27).
Figure 27: Primary health care expenditure, by source of funds, constant prices(a), 2010–11 to 2020–21
The line graph shows that spending on primary health care by the Australian Government, state and territory governments and non-government sector over the decade from 2010–11 to 2020–21. Australian Government spending on primary health care was the highest of all sources. Australian Government spending on primary health care increased in most years except for 2012–13 and reached $33.4 billion in 2020–21. Similarly, state and territory government spending on primary health care increased every year to $11.0 billion in 2018–19, then slightly decreased to $10.9 billion in 2019–20 before increased again to $12.3 billion in 2020–21. Non-government spending increased every year to $27.9 billion in 2018–19, then declined to $26.3 billion in 2019–20 before bounced back to $27.6 billion in 2020–21.
This represented a $6.7 billion increase in spending from 2019–20 in real terms. This growth in 2020–21 was mainly due to increased spending by the Australian Government of $3.9 billion (Table 32). State and territory governments and non-government entities spending on primary health care increased by 13.6% and 5.1% respectively compared to 2019–20.
The increase in spending in real terms on primary health care in 2020–21 was attributable to increases on:
- public health (increased by $4.4 billion, including increased spending on masks and personal protective equipment products and COVID-19 vaccines)
- dental services (by $1.3 billion)
- community health and other (by $0.4 billion)
- benefits-paid pharmaceuticals (by $0.3 billion)
- unreferred medical services (by $0.2 billion, including spending on COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment services)
- all other medications (by $0.2 billion) (tables A5 and A6).
Between 2010–11 and 2020–21, real growth averaged 3.1% each year. The Australian Government spending on primary health care increased the most over the decade, by $9.7 billion, representing an average yearly real growth of 3.5%.