Healthier Budget to deliver a healthier nation

The 2015 Budget is part of the Commonwealth Government’s plan to build a strong, safe and prosperous future for all Australians. The Government’s investment in health and sport will increase to a total of $69.7 billion in the 2015-16 Budget.

Page last updated: 12 May 2015

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12 May 2015

The 2015 Budget is part of the Commonwealth Government’s plan to build a strong, safe and prosperous future for all Australians. The Government’s investment in health and sport will increase to a total of $69.7 billion in the 2015-16 Budget.

A healthy nation is a productive nation and 2015-16 will see an increased focus on improving and protecting the health of Australians, whilst also laying the foundations for sensible long-term reform.

We are also committed to ensuring every dollar invested in the health system delivers the best health outcomes for Australians – as both patients and taxpayers – as efficiently as possible.

The Government will therefore use 2015-16 to tackle long-standing health issues such as: improving primary care and mental health outcomes, systems and structures; better management of chronic illness; affordable access to medicines when and where people need them; supporting regional, rural and indigenous health services; and delivering a more efficient health system.

The same principles will apply to our vision for sport in 2015-16, where we will continue to invest in building a balanced approach supporting grass roots participants, elite sports performance, world-class events and integrity in a bid to harness the unique health, social and economic benefits that sport provides our nation.

Overall Health Spending

Overall spending on health and sport in the 2015-16 Budget will be $69.7 billion – a sensible and moderate overall net increase of $2.3 billion on the current year (2014-15) expected spend.

Spending on Medicare is expected to increase to over $21.1 billion for health ($22 billion whole of Government, including veteran affairs).

The Government will also invest $2.4 billion into improving primary and mental health outcomes and $10.1 billion on access to medicines this year, while hospital funding will increase in 2015-16 to $16.4 billion.

In 2015-16 the Government will continue to invest in sport, including boosting grassroots participation, supporting high performance, improving integrity, and investing in world-class events such as the 2015 Netball World Cup, 2017 Rugby League World Cup and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Protecting the Health of Australians

The Government will invest $1.3 billion over four years listing new medicines and vaccines that will save lives and help thousands of Australians manage debilitating conditions in its 2015-16 Budget.

This includes the listing of new drugs to help Australians beat melanoma, breast cancer and blindness on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), as well as extending free vaccinations for the shingles virus to older Australians aged 70 to 79 on the National Immunisation Program.

Listing these new cancer drugs, worth a combined $624 million over four years, will also form part of a package of measures in the Budget to help improve cancer detection, treatment and prevention, including a new National Cancer Screening Register and the rollout of a new cervical cancer test that will improve survival rates whilst reducing the number of invasive checks required from every two years to five years.

The Government will also invest about $100 million over four years in its 2015-16 Budget to improve Australia’s capability to quickly and effectively respond to health risks posed by natural disasters and terrorist acts at home and abroad, including $34.2 million to replenish the National Medical Stockpile and $63.5 million to support the Darwin-based National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre fulfil its central role of rapid and effective response to emergencies in both Australia and abroad.

The Government’s Immunise Australia programme will also receive a Budget boost of $26.4 million over four years to help improve immunisation rates across the country, including: a new $6 incentive per child to doctors who identify and catch-up children who are more than two months overdue for their vaccination; the development of a national adolescent immunisation register and exploration of creating one for adults; and the development of a new myth-busting communication campaign and educational tools.

The Budget will also deliver the first distributions from the Medical Research Future Fund – $10 million in 2015-16, with more than $400 million expected to be provided to researchers over the forward estimates.

Some $20 million will also be invested over two years to increase community awareness in the fight against the deadly scourge of ice as part of the Government’s National Ice Action Strategy.

The health of regional, rural and Indigenous communities will also continue to be supported through key budget measures such as: $20 million over two years in increased support for the Royal Flying Doctor Service; better targeting of financial incentives for doctors through the General Practice Rural Incentives Programme and the consolidations of workforce scholarships to form a new, more effective programme to encourage health students to take up rural careers. The Government will also invest $1.4 billion to continue support for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

Laying the Foundations for Sensible Long-Term Reform

The Government will lay the foundations in 2015-16 to undertake and implement sensible long-term reform in order to build a better-integrated health system that is patient-focussed and evidence-based.

Key reforms include the delivery of a healthier Medicare, with $34 million allocated to support the work of the Government’s clinician-led Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce, expert Primary Health Care Advisory Group, and development of clearer compliance rules and benchmarks, which are all due to deliver blueprints for reform in late 2015. This will also be supported by a number of routine additions and amendments to MBS items recommended by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) to reflect evidenced-based services and clinical best practice.

The Government will also continue working with stakeholders on the development of a National Diabetes Strategy – an election commitment – due for release in late 2015.

Work will also commence with states and territories to develop a new national mental health plan. The Commonwealth will work closely with its Expert Reference Group to guide implementation of the key findings and recommendations of the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services.

The Government will also deliver over $200 million in funding support to state and territory governments for dental services over the next 12 months while it works with them, dentists, consumers and public and private health providers to deliver much-needed practical reform of the nation’s fragmented dental system to ensure Australians get seamless access to the services they need. This will include a new 12 month National Partnership Agreement and access to the Child Dental Benefit Schedule.

The 2015-16 Budget will also deliver $485 million to reform Labor’s mishandled attempts to create a national E-health electronic records system for doctors and patients in line with the recommendations of an independent review, including a trial of an opt-out, rather than opt-in, system for patients.

The nation’s new Primary Health Networks will also begin operating in 2015-16 in replacement of Labor’s Medical Locals, which were found by an independent review to be fragmented and often inefficient.

Sport also features strongly on the Government’s reform agenda, with the full rollout of the $100 million Sporting Schools programme to occur this year under the Play.Sport.Australia participation strategy.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Troy Bilsborough 0427 063 150 or troy.bilsborough@health.gov.au
James Murphy 0478 333 974 or james.murphy@health.gov.au
Dept of Health 0412 132 585 or news@health.gov.au