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12 May 2009
The Rudd Government today delivers on a series of vital reforms for Australia’s health and hospital system – to drive major improvements in hospitals, health infrastructure, the health workforce, maternity services, and health services in rural areas.
The Rudd Government is investing in the whole health system – across the whole country – to deliver better health outcomes for Australians, no matter where they live.
Despite the major challenges to the Budget caused by the global recession, health and ageing remains a top priority for the Rudd Government.
Investment and reform
The 2009-10 Budget:
- Delivers on the landmark $64 billion healthcare agreement with the states and territories – to provide record levels of funding for public hospitals and reduce pressure on emergency departments.
- Provides a massive $1.3 billion Health and Hospitals Fund (HHF) investment in cancer infrastructure – part of a total $2 billion package – focused on tackling the wide disparity in cancer treatment outcomes for cancer patients in rural and regional areas.
- Provides a $1.5 billion investment to upgrade hospitals and clinical training infrastructure across Australia.
- Invests $430.3 million in state-of-the-art translational research and clinical training facilities.
- Provides more funding for training doctors – including a 35 per cent increase in GP training places – and growing the nursing workforce – including through enhancing the role of the highly skilled nurse practitioner workforce. These reforms help tackle the health workforce shortages which are the legacy of the previous Government.
- Will provide greater choice in maternity services for pregnant women and new mothers, through a $120.5 million maternity services reform package which will expand access to services provided by eligible midwives.
- Provides more funding for provision of health services in rural areas – to address severe health workforce shortages which the previous Government neglected for its 11 years in office.
The 2009-10 Budget will also provide access to new drugs to fight cancer, reform funding arrangements for pathology and diagnostic imaging services, and provide new funding for Indigenous health.
In order to prioritise these important reforms in very tough economic times, the Government is also ensuring programs target services and financial assistance where they are needed most. Measures announced today will:
- Cap benefits provided under the Extended Medicare Safety Net for a range of services including obstetrics and assisted reproductive technology – where there is evidence that doctors have been charging excessive fees at taxpayers’ expense.
- Rebalance support for private health insurance so that those with a capacity to pay do so.
The 2009-10 Budget marks the next step on the journey of health reform commenced by the Rudd Government in last year’s Budget. After 11 years of neglect by the Liberals there is still much to do, but even in difficult economic times, the Rudd Government is delivering on health reform and investing in the whole health system, for the benefit of all Australians.
For all inquiries please contact the Minister's office – 02 6277 7220