Economic strength guarantees investment into our essential services
With a Federal Election on the horizon, the Government was keen to highlight the strength of our economy and announce a long-awaited budget surplus. By proposing a wide range of improvements to essential services and the quality of care, it’s hoping to win votes by guaranteeing a better standard of living for all Australians.
1. Developing a stronger healthcare system
The Government’s commitment to ‘investing in the health of Australians’ means our healthcare system will be further strengthened by proposed increased spending on primary care, hospitals and medicines.
- The $1.1 billion Strengthening Primary Care Package will improve the care and services for patients with high needs.
- Updates to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme with new and amended listings.
- Adding new services to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, including diagnostic imaging for breast cancer and heart health check, to reduce out of pocket expenses.
- More MRI licenses will improve national coverage.
- Boosting health services with the Community Health and Hospitals Program for preventative and primary healthcare.
- Significant funding for youth mental health and suicide prevention strategies.
- Continued investment into Sports 2030 to encourage greater participation with upgraded sporting infrastructure.
2. Support for aged care
A promise to invest in essential aged care services will help Australians access the care and support they need throughout their retirement.Commonwealth Home Support Programme
The Government will provide $5.9 billion over two years from 2020-21 to extend the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) funding arrangements. The CHSP contributes to essential home support services, such as meals (Meals on Wheels), personal care, nursing, domestic assistance, home maintenance and community transport, to enable people to live independently in their own homes for longer.Residential and Home Care
A $724.8 million investment over five years from 2018-19 will provide further improvements in the quality, safety and accessibility of residential and home care services.
- One-off increase to the basic subsidy for residential aged care recipients.
- 10,000 additional home care packages.
- Increased dementia and veterans’ home care supplements to support those who require additional care to stay in their homes longer, plus a dedicated Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission within the Government’s Medial Research Future Fund.
- Strengthened aged care regulations by establishing a risk-based compliance and information sharing system in the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
- New mandatory reporting against national residential care quality indicators.
- End-to-end compliance framework for the Home Care program, to improve the quality and safety of home care services and enhance the integrity of the home care system.
A new National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians will deliver a National Hotline with trials of frontline services, alongside a Serious Incident Response Scheme, intended to immediately reform aged care.
3. Assistance with energy bills
To help with the rising cost of energy bills, age pensioners and other pension recipients could benefit from a one‑off, income tax exempt Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples (subject to social security eligibility).
4. Investing in skills and education
The Government has pledged to invest $525 million over five years in the Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package to better equip Australians with the skills they need.
- The National Skills Commission will provide a nationwide approach to skills development.
- An Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment will support businesses and help apprentices gain the skills they need.
- A Skills Organisations pilot specifically for human services care and digital technologies.
- The National Careers Institute will help raise the profile of the vocational education and training sector.
- 10 Training Hubs in regional areas of high youth unemployment.
- Unique Student Identifier and centralised digital training record for the entire tertiary education sector.
In addition, there is record levels of funding set aside for public, Independent and Catholic schools.
- The Local School Community Fund will help fund school activities and new equipment.
- An extension of the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education until the end of 2020.
- Additional scholarships for students to study at a regional University campuses.