Australia should improve the integration of care across the patient pathway to prepare for a rise in chronic disease and make the health system less complex for patients, according to a new OECD report.
Australia’s health system functions remarkably well, despite operating under a complex set of institutions that make coordinating patient care difficult. Complications arising from a split in federal and state government funding and responsibilities are central to these challenges. This fragmented health care system can disrupt the continuity of patient care, lead to a duplication of services and leave gaps in care provision. Supervision of these health services by different levels of government can manifest in avoidable impediments such as the poor transfer of health information, and pose difficulties for patients navigating the health system. Adding to the Australian system’s complexity is a mix of services delivered through both the public and private sectors. To ease health system fragmentation and promote more integrated services, Australia should adopt a national approach to quality and performance through an enhanced federal government role in steering policy, funding and priority setting. The states, in turn, should take on a strengthened role as health service providers, with responsibility for primary care devolved to the states to better align it with hospital services and community care. A more strategic role for the centre should also leave room for the strategic development of health services at the regional level, encouraging innovation that is responsive to local population need, particularly in rural and remote areas.
Australia provided USD 4.2 billion in net ODA in 2014 (preliminary data), which represented 0.27% of gross national income (GNI) and a fall of 7.2% in real terms from 2013. Australia’s ODA has fallen since 2012, both in volume and as a percentage of GNI.
Bilateral Agreements that have been signed to establish exchange of information for tax purposes.
Australia’s agriculture and food industries are well placed to contribute to the economy’s future growth given the robust prospects of global food demand and the continuing high international competitiveness of these sectors. There are, however, important challenges that call for new ways to exploit agricultural resources and human capital. The decade-long decline in agricultural productivity growth needs to be overcome, coupled with the need to accommodate uncertainties about the impacts of climate change and to respond to societal demands in the areas of sustainable development and animal welfare. The agro-food sector also needs to absorb exchange-rate and cost pressures created by the mining boom. To tap additional opportunities of the higher value food segments, Australian agri-businesses need new knowledge and capabilities to seize demand signals and value opportunities, particularly from more affluent consumers in Asian markets.
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Australia’s employment rate remains well above the OECD average. In the first quarter of 2015, the rate for 15-64 year-olds was 71.7%, 5.7 percentage points (ppts) above the OECD average. However, labour market conditions have been deteriorating steadily over the past four years, and Australia is no longer one of the best performing countries in the OECD area.
Specific country notes have been prepared using data from the database OECD Health Statistics 2015, July 2015 version. The notes are available in PDF format.
A dashboard of key government indicators by country, to help you analyse international comparisons of public sector performance.
In a boost for international efforts to strengthen co-operation against offshore tax evasion, seven new countries have joined the agreement to exchange information automatically under the OECD/G20 standard.
Biographical note of Australia's Permanent Representative to the OECD.