Australia is a federation of 6 states and 2 territories governed by 3 tiers of government:
- Australian government (also referred to as Federal or Commonwealth government)
- State/Territory government
- local government.
The Australian health system comprises a mix of public and private service providers. Funding is provided by all levels of government, health insurers, non-government organisations and by individuals.
The Australian Government mainly contributes funding via 2 national health subsidy schemes:
- Medicare Benefits Scheme (known as Medicare) (external site) subsidises payments for services provided by doctors, optometrists, and some allied health professionals
- Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) (external site) subsidises payments for a large proportion of prescription medicines bought from community pharmacies.
Additional services provided by the Australian Government include:
- social welfare arrangements
- regional and remote healthcare programs
- funding programs for chronic and complex conditions
- healthcare arrangements for Australian Defence Force personnel and their families through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (external site)
- support of clinical education and training through the National Medical Training Advisory Network (external site)