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Advocacy, print disability and information services are considered shared responsibilities of the Australian state and territory governments.
National data on services are collected through the CSTDA National Minimum Data Set (NMDS), which includes information relating to CSTDA services and the people who use these services throughout the financial year. Data are collected by each state and territory and the Australian Government and forwarded to the AIHW for collation and analysis.
Data presented here are from the 2005-06 data collection, the third full year of the CSTDA NMDS. In 2005-06 there were 7,182 Indigenous CSTDA-funded service users, representing 3% of all users. The Indigenous status of 23,156 service users (11%) was unknown. The proportion of service users who were Indigenous has changed little over the three collection years (AIHW 2007f).
11.13 USERS OF CSTDA-FUNDED SERVICES, by Indigenous status and primary disability group (a) - 2005-06
The most commonly reported primary disabilities for Indigenous service users were intellectual (39%), followed by physical (14%) and psychiatric (12%) (graph 11.13). Among non-Indigenous service users the most commonly reported primary disabilities were also intellectual (36%), but these were followed by people with psychiatric (15%) and then physical (11%) disabilities (AIHW 2007f).
Service users who were Indigenous more often reported multiple disabilities. Nearly half of all Indigenous service users (46%) reported a primary disability and at least one other significant disability, compared with 34% of non-Indigenous users (AIHW 2007f).
Indigenous service users of CSTDA services were younger, on average, than other service users (graph 11.14). The median age for Indigenous service users was 25 years, compared with a median age of 32 years for other service users (AIHW 2007f). This is consistent with the earlier onset of many chronic health conditions and shorter life expectancy in the Indigenous population (see Chapter 7).
Patterns of service use were similar for Indigenous and non-Indigenous service users (table 11.15). Similar to non-Indigenous users, Indigenous service users most commonly accessed community support services, followed by employment, accommodation, community access, and respite services. Indigenous service users were more likely than non-Indigenous users to access community support services (53% compared with 42%) respite services (20% compared with 13%), and accommodation services (20% compared with 18%). A lower proportion of Indigenous users accessed employment services (24% compared with 38%) and community access services (20% compared with 23%).
Differences in the types of services accessed may reflect different availability of services in regional/remote areas rather than differing needs of Indigenous and non-Indigenous service users. Some 12% of Indigenous users lived in remote and very remote areas, compared with 1% of other users, while 37% of Indigenous users were located in major cities compared with 64% of other users (AIHW 2007f).