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14 May 2013
The 2013-14 Budget continues the Gillard Government’s strong investment in frontline health services, while delivering responsible savings to improve efficiency across the system.
“The Gillard Government is committed to building a strong health system for our future,” Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, said.
Key new initiatives include World Leading Cancer Care, a new $226.4 million package that will reinforce Australia’s position as a world-leader in cancer research, prevention and treatment.
“Australian cancer patients now have the best overall survival rates in the world, and our new cancer package – World Leading Cancer Care – will continue to improve the lives of all Australians touched by cancer.
“This funding is on top of the unprecedented $3.5 billion investment to combat cancer made by this Government since 2007,” Minister Plibersek said.
In this Budget, the Government is continuing to provide record investment for public hospitals – meaning more doctors, nurses and beds and more people cared for; less waiting time in emergency departments; and people getting their surgery done sooner.
The Government is expecting to invest $1.3 billion over the next four years in additional funding for Australians to visit a GP. An additional 14.1 million GP services will be funded through the Government’s universal health care system over the next four years. This has been enabled through the Government’s health reforms which are strengthening the Australian health workforce and making visiting a GP more accessible.
In all, the Government is investing $79.2 billion in health and aged care services in 2013-14.
“By targeting funding, prioritising spending and making tough but responsible decisions, we are ensuring that health spending is focused where it can be of greatest help to Australians most in need and at most risk,” Minister Plibersek said.
The Budget allocates $14.9 billion for public hospitals in 2013-14, an increase of $871 million on last year.
Under the National Health Reform Agreement, the Commonwealth has guaranteed an additional $16.4 billion in payments to states and territories from 2014-15 to 2019-20.
In addition, $3.4 billion for emergency department and elective surgery improvements, and more sub-acute beds, is provided under the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services to provide additional services in hospitals in the lead up to Health Reform coming into effect.
From 2014-15, funding to state and territory hospital services will be uncapped and based on activity: the greater the number of people cared for, the more funding services will receive.
The Budget also underlines the Government’s ongoing commitment to mental health reform, building on the $2.2 billion reform package in the 2011-12 Budget.
Funding of $61.2 million will enable the continuation of initiatives to support people with serious mental illness ($23.8 million) and help new and expectant mothers experiencing depression ($37.4 million).
The Budget funds efforts to tackle the eye disease trachoma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ($16.5 million).
This follows the Government’s announcement of $777 million to fund its share of a renewed National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes for a further three years to 30 June 2016.
Minister Plibersek said the Budget reflects and responds to the nation’s key health and economic challenges.
“More and more calls are being made on the health dollar,” she said. “Health care costs are rising and the demands of an ageing population are putting huge pressure on the system,” Minister Plibersek said.
“We have rigorously examined programs and priorities to ensure funds are directed where they are best used and most needed. Efficiencies will be achieved through ensuring health services align with the evidence of best practice.”
This year, there is a choice – between the Gillard Government’s record investment in health, or Tony Abbott’s plans to slash spending on basic services by cutting to the bone.
This Budget keeps our economy strong, makes the smart investments for our future and ensures every Australian gets a fair go and has access to a quality health system.
We are investing for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on.
For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220