Funding election commitments

These measures, among health measures announced by the Australian Government during the 2016 election campaign, boost health and medical research, and improve the health and wellbeing of Australians in a range of settings, including rural and remote areas, schools, and our beaches.

Page last updated: 19 December 2016

Why is this important?

The Australian Government is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all Australians, no matter their circumstances, or where they choose to live, work or play. These measures honour a number of election commitments.

The Government is building Australia’s research capacity by providing leadership and working with states and territories to redesign clinical trials systems. An investment of $7 million over five years will remove red tape and introduce arrangements to position Australia as a preferred location for trials. This means patients will have access to new therapies and will provide a boost to Australia’s innovation economy.

While the Australian Government will provide leadership, funding will go to states and territories to support locally appropriate redesign of clinical trials systems. This recognises the alignment between this election commitment and the April 2016 Council of Australian Governments Health Council decision to advance Australia’s clinical trials sector.

This measure will increase the number and value of trials improving health outcomes, encouraging industry innovation, boosting economic growth and increasing employment.

The Government will provide $4.4 million to establish Australia’s first ever National Rural Health Commissioner to improve rural health policies and champion the cause of rural practice.

The Commissioner will lead the development of the first ever National Rural Generalist Pathway, which will address rural health’s biggest issue – not enough health professionals in rural, regional and remote Australia.

The Government will commit $11 million to expand delivery of Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) dental services to rural and remote Australia, where there are three and a half times fewer dentists than in metropolitan areas.

The Government will continue funding of $59.6 million for the Australian Sports Commission-managed Sporting Schools Program for 18 months from 1 July 2017, to reach up to 1.1 million children (up from 860,000). The program helps schools maximise the significant contribution that sport participation offers to physical health, and social, cognitive and community development.

Funding of $10 million to Surf Life Saving Australia will help develop the skills of volunteers and keep its trainers up-to-date with the latest teaching methods.

Who will benefit?

More clinical trials will provide direct benefit to researchers, trial sponsors, patients and the broader economy.

The National Rural Health Commissioner will give rural Australia a stronger voice in policy making, benefitting those who live in rural and remote areas.

Funding the RFDS to provide dental services, either on a fly-in, fly-out, or drive-in, drive-out basis, will give people access to mobile outreach dental services in areas where permanent dental services are not viable.

The extended Sporting Schools Program will give priority to girls aged 12–14, and to schools where there is evidence of disadvantage or large groups of inactive students.

Funding to Surf Life Saving Australia will help it to ‘train the trainers’ who share their knowledge and experience with new and advancing volunteers, to keep our beaches safe.

How much will this cost?

More than $91 million has been provided to implement this suite of election commitments:

Clinical trials – $7 million from 2016–17 to 2020–21

Rural Health Commissioner – $4.4 million from 2016–17 to 2019–20

RFDS dental services – $11 million from 2016–17 to 2019–20

Sporting Schools Program – $59.6 million from 2016–17 to 2019–20

Surf Life Saving Australia – $10 million from 2016–17 to 2019– 20.