The value of Indigenous sight

Substantial benefits to the Australian economy from investing in healthcare to close the gap for Indigenous eye health.

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The value of Indigenous sight – 2015

This report has been prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia (PwC) at the request of the University of Melbourne Indigenous Eye Health Unit (IEHU) in our capacity as advisors in accordance with the Agreement between PwC and the IEHU.

In 2012 the University of Melbourne's Indigenous Eye Health Unit launched The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision. The Roadmap is a call to action and practical program of recommendations to close the gap for Indigenous eye health. It shows that current eye care services and programs are not effectively addressing a number of eye problems for Indigenous Australians - all of which are treatable or preventable with the right care.

PwC and PwC's Indigenous Consulting (PIC) worked with the University of Melbourne to estimate the economic benefits of implementing the 42 recommendations in the Roadmap. Our report, The value of Indigenous Sight, compares the costs and benefits of current eye care services and programs with the costs and benefits of the additional strategies and activities recommended by the Roadmap.

The results of our analysis show that the potential benefits of investing in the Roadmap will substantially outweigh the costs of the additional funding required. Over the next ten years, an estimated 34,000 Indigenous Australians will be affected by blindness or low vision. The implementation of the Roadmap's recommendations could close the gap in Indigenous eye health and generate over $550 million in benefits for the Australian economy, at a cost of $230 million. The benefits from improved eye health include improved productivity, avoided healthcare spending for other health issues associated with low vision, and reduced taxation as well as wider health and well-being benefits.

The implementation of the Roadmap's recommendations will increase the efficiency of government investment in Indigenous eye care. Currently, for every dollar invested in Indigenous eye care, the return is estimated to be only $0.90. However, for every additional dollar invested in the Roadmap's recommendations, it is estimated $2.50 will be generated for the Australian economy.