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The economic benefits of eliminating Indigenous health inequality in the Northern Territory

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The known Although there are estimates of Indigenous health expenditure, little information is available regarding the total economic burden of Indigenous health inequality. 

The new Indigenous health inequality is a substantial economic deadweight, costing the Northern Territory an estimated $16.7 billion between 2009 and 2013 (43% from lost life-years, 35% from lost productivity, 22% from higher direct health costs), equivalent to 19% of the NT gross state product. 

The implications Closing the Indigenous gap will have far-reaching potential benefits for the economic future of the NT. 

The Northern Territory covers one-sixth of the Australian landmass, but includes only 1% of its population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) people constitute about 27% of the NT population (compared with 2.5% nationally) (Box 1).1 Compared with the rest of the population, Indigenous Australians have disproportionate levels of social isolation, poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and inadequate access to health care.2 They also suffer poorer health; for Indigenous people in the NT born between 2010 and 2012, life expectancy…