House debates

Monday, 21 June 2021


Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2021-2022; Consideration in Detail

11:01 am

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health and Aged Care) Share this | Hansard source

I am pleased to be able to address the house in relation to the health budget over the course of 2021-22. All up, there will be over $121 billion invested across the portfolio and related activities in other portfolios for health, aged care and sport. Of most significance are, of course, the central pillars of the portfolio. In terms of Medicare, we see growth from approximately $19 billion in the year prior to us coming into government to $30 billion, $31 billion, $32 billy and $33 billion. That includes an additional investment of $6 billion in Medicare alone this budget, including $711 million for new Medicare items. That's an incredibly important investment, whether it's in relation to blood pressure; whether it's in relation to new items for infants for aortic valve treatment; or whether it's in relation to mental health and antidepressive activities such as, for the first time, the listing of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a very important treatment. That is then accompanied by the investment in new medicines: a critical investment of $43 billion over the course of the coming four years. We've already delivered over 2,600 new medicines, but this budget specifically, for example, included the listing of Emgality for the treatment of migraine. That will help some thousands of patients save thousands of dollars a year.

In addition to that, the budget includes a very significant package in relation to hospitals. What we see is a $6 billion increase in the amount of funding for hospitals. From $13 billion when we came in, that will grow over the course of this budget to $26 billion, $27 billion, $28 billion and $29 billion a year. Then, of course, what we see is the fundamental investments in mental health and in aged care. There is $17.7 billion for aged care and, as part of that response to the royal commission, this package is built across five pillars.

First is home care, with an over $7½ billion investment, including 80,000 additional packages. We see here that we will have gone from approximately 60,000 aged-care packages when we came into government to 275,000, a rate of growth which is vastly in excess of the population growth, a rate of investment vastly in excess of the population growth in the over 70s or in any age group. So we had to take the situation as we inherited it, and we have addressed that challenge and it is fundamentally important. It also includes over $790 million under home care for support of respite, and that's to assist both older Australians and their carers—critically and fundamentally important steps forward.

The second pillar, of course, is residential aged-care sustainability, and, as part of that, there's $7.8 billion, with several fundamental elements. The first is the increase, in line with the royal commission's recommendation, of a $10-a-day basic daily fee uplift. That's an investment of over $3.1 billion. The second is the adoption of the standards of safety and care, of 200 minutes a day of care, which will lead to a $3.9 billion increase over the course of the forward estimates or projections in the budget. The third is the residential aged-care quality and safety actions, and these include the ability to ensure we have over $300 million for doctors to make in-home visits to residential aged-care facilities, backed by an over $600 million investment in workforce—in particular, with retention bonuses for nurses. Finally there is governance, with a nearly $700 million investment, which will be critical with all of the new steps that are being taken forward.

We've added to that $2.3 billion for mental health, which I will explore further on in the discussions. That's fundamental to saving and protecting lives, with a particular focus on youth suicide and Indigenous suicide prevention, and treatment right across the age groups.


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