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Australia is one of the richest healthcare markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The market ranks amongst the top 20 largest in the world, while per capita spending is on a par with European markets such as the Netherlands or Finland.
Around 75% of the market is located in the three states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, situated on the south and east coasts. Much of the rest of the country is very sparsely inhabited. Healthcare provision is a mixture of public and private. Public expenditure is largely funded by the Commonwealth (central) Government, while private expenditure is largely funded through insurance.
While there are a few small high tech manufacturers, local production tends to concentrate on basic hospital supplies. The market is therefore predominantly supplied by imports, which have grown rapidly since 2001. Imports are principally supplied by the USA, with which Australia has developed close trading links.
In August 2011, after months of negotiation, the Commonwealth Government signed an agreement with all States and Territories to formalise the National Health Reform plan. Designed to improve funding to hospitals and to reduce patient waiting times, the plan will see the Commonwealth Government invest at least A$16.4 billion (US$16.0 billion) in additional funding for public hospitals over the period 2014-15 to 2019-20. The Commonwealth Government will match 45% of efficient growth funding from July 2014, and 50% of efficient growth from July 2017.