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Budget 2021–⁠22: Generational change and record investment in the health of Australians

A joint media release outlining the Morrison Government's $121.4 billion in 2021–22 and $503 billion investment into the health of Australians over the next four years.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Morrison Government is investing a record $121.4 billion in 2021–22 and $503 billion over the next four years, providing more support to Australians as we face some of the greatest health challenges in a generation. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we have committed over $25 billion towards our COVID-19 health response. This includes measures in the 2021–22 Budget, including $1.1 billion to extend our COVID-19 health response to support Australians throughout the pandemic, and $1.9 billion to drive the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, to ensure everyone in Australia will have the opportunity to be vaccinated. 

In addition we are extending COVID-19 health measures by investing $204.6 million to extend telehealth arrangements until 31 December 2021, bringing total investment to date to $3.6 billion, which continues to provide access to health services for all Australians regardless of where they live. 

In this Budget, we will deliver on two critical reforms: 

  • our $17.7 billion investment in aged care, responding to the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety, and establishing the five pillar - five year plan for genuine change for our senior Australians – the largest investment in aged care and the largest in response to a Royal Commission in Australia’s history – to deliver greater respect, care and dignity for our older Australians, and 
  • our $2.3 billion investment in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan – the largest Commonwealth mental health investment in Australia’s history, including creating a landmark national network including up to 57 additional mental health treatments centres and satellites for adults, as well as more centres for youth and children through the Head to Health and headspace programs. 

In addition, our Government is strengthening our record investment in the Australia’s Long Term National Health Plan, creating the world’s best health care system, including: 

  • $125.7 billion over the forward estimates, up over $6 billion, as part of our ongoing commitment to guarantee Medicare for all Australians 
  • $43 billion over four years to make medicines available and affordable through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) 
  • $535.9 million for women and girls, including critical investments in line with the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-30, support for women who are suffering from or at risk of endometriosis, preventing premature birth, detection and treatment for breast and cervical cancer, and mental health, including a $26.9 million investment to provide additional support for people with eating disorders and their families 
  • $781.1 million to prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and ageing outcomes 
  • $135.4 billion over five years to continue record level investment in public hospitals, including funding under the 2020–25 National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) and the National Partnership on COVID-19. This is up from $13.3 billion in 2012-13 to $25.6 billion in 2021-22 and $29.9 billion in 2024-25 
  • continuing to build on this Government’s track record of Private Health Insurance (PHI) reforms delivering the lowest premium changes in 20 years, and 
  • $6.7 billion over four years for life-saving and life changing research, with $228.1 million in new grants and opening of programs in this Budget. 

COVID-19 Response 

The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to present an ongoing risk to our population’s health. It has had a profound impact on our way of life, even as our successful suppression strategy has protected Australians from the worst impacts. 

The Morrison Government is continuing the momentum of our COVID-19 health response and COVID-19 vaccination rollout, and has committed over $25 billion since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. 

There is still much to do to suppress COVID-19 transmission in our communities, but our Government and all Australians remain alert and responsive to change. This investment over the coming months will underpin our efforts in continuing our successful strategy of protecting Australians and fast-tracking our economic recovery. 

Key measures include: 

  • $1.2 billion to partner with states and territories to support the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine, and ensure swift and flexible responses to COVID-19 outbreaks and transmissions 
  • $557.1 million to test for COVID-19 transmission, including funding for MBS pathology items 
  • $169.8 million to ensure access to safe services, medicines and up-to-date information on COVID-19. This includes $87.5 million to support GP-led Respiratory Clinics treat patients, $11.5 million to deliver the Home Medicine Service, and $7.1 million to ensure mental wellbeing service support through Beyond Blue 
  • $90 million for the COVID-19 Aged Care Viability Fund to ensure Residential Aged Care providers financial sustainability, and funding to support workers and Residential Aged Care residents to be COVID-19 safe, and 
  • $29.9 million investment in the preparedness and capacity of the National Medical Stockpile, and ensure health and aged care workers can access personal protective equipment. 

Ageing and Aged Care: Respect, care and dignity

The Morrison Government will invest $17.7 billion in additional funding in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Safety and Quality. This in turn will help ensure respect, care and dignity for our senior Australians.

The Morrison Government’s focus through our aged care reforms is to ensure senior Australians have access to high quality and safe care services, are empowered to have more control and choice in their care arrangements and are treated with dignity and respect.

All Australians deserve an aged care system that places their needs and wellbeing at its centre. Some

1.3 million Australians access aged care services today and, by the middle of the century, the number of Australians aged over 65 years will almost double to more than 7 million. The importance of these reforms cannot be overstated.

Over 5 years we will invest $250 million in 2020–21, $2.1 billion in 2021–22, $4.4 billion in 2022–23, $5.5 billion in 2023–24 and $5.5 billion in 2024–25, for a total of $17.7 billion.

The Morrison Government called for the Royal Commission, and each step of the way has sought to address the immediate priorities to improve the aged care system.

We invested $552 million when the Royal Commission was first established. We invested $537 million at the time of the interim report. We invested $132.2 million in direct response to the COVID-19 special report. Most recently, we committed $452 million for immediate, priority actions in response to the final report, Care, Dignity and Respect.

Our Government will continue to build on this investment and lead this comprehensive and generational reform agenda – now worth $17.7 billion over the forward estimates – which will also rely on support from the aged care sector, providers and the workforce to embrace and embed these changes, creating a better system within their business and their work.

Our commitment includes:

  • Pillar 1 of the Royal Commission Response – Home Care: $7.5 billion towards supporting senior Australians who choose to remain in their home, including:
    • $6.5 billion for an additional 80,000 Home Care Packages – 40,000 released in 2021– 22 and 40,000 in 2022–23, which will make a total of 275,598 packages available to senior Australians by June 2023
    • $10.8 million to design and plan a new support in home care program which better meets the needs of senior Australians
    • $798.3 million to support the 1.6 million informal carers, including additional respite services for 8,400 senior Australians each year, and
    • $272.5 million for enhanced support and face-to-face services to assist senior Australians accessing and navigating the aged care system.
  • Pillar 2 of the Royal Commission Response – residential aged care services and sustainability: $7.8 billion towards improving and simplifying residential aged care services and to ensure senior Australians can access value for money services, including:
    • $3.9 billion to increase the amount of front line care (care minutes) delivered to residents of aged care and respite services, mandated at 200 minutes per day, including 40 minutes with a registered nurse
    • $3.2 billion to support aged care providers to deliver better care and services through a new Government funded Basic Daily Fee Supplement of $10 per resident per day
    • $102.1 million to assign residential aged care places directly to senior Australians, and to support providers to adjust to a more competitive market
    • $49.1 million to expand the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority to help ensure that aged care costs are directly related to the care provided
    • $189.3 million for a new Australian National Aged Care Classification to deliver a fairer and more sustainable funding arrangements, and
    • $5.5 million to reform residential aged care design and planning to better meet the needs of senior Australians, particularly those living with dementia.
  • Pillar 3 of the Royal Commission Response – residential aged care quality and safety:
    • $942 million to drive systemic improvements to residential aged care quality and safety, including:
    • $365.7 million to improve access to primary care for senior Australians, including the transition of senior Australians between aged care and health care setting and improved medication management
    • $262.5 million to ensure the independent regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC), is well-equipped to safeguard the quality, safety and integrity of aged care services, and can effectively address failures in care
    • $7.3 million for additional resources to build capacity within residential aged care for the care of senior Australians living with dementia
    • $67.5 million for the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and the Severe Behaviour Response Teams to further reduce reliance on physical and chemical restraint (restrictive practices), and
    • $200.1 million to introduce a new star rating system to highlight the quality of aged care services, and better informing senior Australians, their families and carers.
  • Pillar 4 of the Royal Commission Response – Workforce:
    • $652.1 million to grow a skilled, professional and compassionate aged care workforce, which will be the powerhouse of the Government’s reform agenda, including:
    • $228.2 million to create a single assessment workforce to undertake all assessments that will improve and simplify the assessment experience for senior Australians as they enter or progress within the aged care system
    • $135.6 million to provide eligible registered nurses with financial support of $3,700 for full-time workers, and $2,700 for part-time workers.
    • $9.8 million to extend the national recruitment campaign, and to help increase the skilled and dedicated aged care workforce, and
    • upskill the existing workforce and providing training for thousands of new aged care workers, including 33,800 subsidised Vocational Education and Training places through JobTrainer.
  • Pillar 5 of the Royal Commission Response – Governance: $698.3 million to improve the governance across the aged care system. This will embed respect, care and dignity at the heart of the system, guaranteeing better choice, high quality and safe care for senior Australians, including:
    • $21.1 million to establish new governance and advisory structures, including a National Aged Care Advisory Council, Council of Elders and are working towards establishing a new Inspector-General of Aged Care
    • $630.2 million to improve access to quality aged care services for consumers in regional, rural and remote areas including those with First Nations backgrounds and special needs groups
    • $13.4 million to improve rural and regional stewardship of aged care, with Department of Health aged care officers embedded within eight of the 31 Primary Health Network regions, and
    • The drafting of a new Aged Care Act to enshrine the Government’s reforms in legislation by mid-2023.

National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

The Morrison Government will deliver the largest single mental health and suicide prevention Commonwealth investment in Australia’s history, investing $2.3 billion to deliver structural reform and real change for Australians and ensure they have the support they need.

This includes $1.4 billion in high quality and person-centred treatment, and specifically the development of a national network including up to 57 additional mental health treatment centres and satellites for adults, youth and children, through Head to Health and headspace programs. This landmark reform will address service gaps and provide accessible, stigma-free care throughout Australia, including in regional and rural areas.

The Morrison Government’s total annual investment in mental health has grown from $5.9 billion in 2020–21 to $6.3 billion in 2021–22.

Australians endured so much in 2020 – from the Black Summer bushfires, where many families and communities are continuing to rebuild, the COVID-19 pandemic that changed the very way we live our lives, to the floods of 2021.

The mental health toll on Australians both collectively and individually, has been a heavy one. In 2020, the Productivity Commission (PC) put the cost to the Australian economy of mental illness and suicide, conservatively, at up to $70 billion per year.

Our Government is focused on ensuring Australians are able to access affordable supports where and when they need them. We want a system that proactively reaches out to support people early in life and early in their experience of distress.

This is an ambitious reform agenda. We recognise Australians need a mental health system focussed on helping people before mental health conditions deteriorate and suicidal distress worsens.

Whole-of-government and whole-of-community change are required to deliver preventive, compassionate and effective care.

Our reforms have been guided by the Final Advice of the National Suicide Prevention Adviser (NSPA), and include the first instalment of the Government’s response to the PC Inquiry report. The Government has supported in full, in part or in principle all of the 21 recommendations of the PC Report and the eight recommendations of the NSPA Final Advice.

More than half of these recommendations require collaboration with state and territory governments, which will be pursued jointly through a new National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement. This agreement will ensure reform delivers on the compassionate, connected and accessible system that Australians living with mental ill-health deserve.

Building on the record funding for mental health in 2019–20 and 2020–21, this Budget will address action in 5 priority areas:

  • prevention and early intervention
  • suicide prevention
  • treatment
  • support for the vulnerable, and
  • workforce and governance.

Key investments include:

  • $248.6 million for prevention and early intervention
    • $111.2 million in digital services, including the creation of a world-class, single digital platform under Head to Health that will provide online professional counselling, peer support, clinical support and referrals
    • $47.4 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant parents including to:
      • expand existing support services provided by Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia
      • provide continued funding to support digital perinatal mental health screening, and
      • deliver universal perinatal mental health screening in conjunction with states and territories.
    • $77.1 million for the National Legal Assistance Partnership to support early resolution of legal problems for those experiencing mental illness, and for mental health workers in Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships to support women who have experienced family violence
    • $6.3 million to increase support services for fly-in fly-out and drive-in drive-out workers
    • $5.7 million to build on the Individual Placement and Support program to assist people with mental illness to participate in the workforce, and
    • $0.9 million to continue the Ahead for Business digital hub, supporting small business owners to take proactive, preventive and early steps to improve their mental health.
  • $298.1 million towards suicide prevention:
    • $12.8 million for a National Suicide Prevention Office to oversee the national whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention
    • $61.6 million to expand the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program to increase investment in whole of population suicide prevention activities and services
    • $12 million to continue the delivery of local suicide prevention initiatives across Australia to the former National Suicide Prevention Trial sites
    • In conjunction with the states and territories, we will:
      • provide aftercare services for all Australians discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt, and trials for aftercare services for anyone experiencing suicidal crisis, but who do not attend a hospital
      • provide national suicide postvention services which help those bereaved or impacted by suicide, including families, friends, workplaces, schools, community groups, frontline responders and witnesses, and
      • establish a national Distress Intervention trial program which will reach people earlier in crisis where it first manifests and provide immediate support.
  • $1.4 billion for treatment:
    • The heart of the Government’s reform is to create a national network of multidisciplinary mental health treatment centres for adults, youth and children to contribute to addressing the ‘missing middle’ service gap, based on three models:
      • Head to Health adult mental health treatment centres: We will improve access to community-based mental health services, including through the initial establishment of eight new centres, 24 new satellite centres, and ongoing funding for eight existing centres. We will also establish a dedicated phone service to support intake, assessment and referral, at a cost of $487.2 million
        • The Government will also work in partnership with state and territory governments to continue to expand the network of community-based adult mental health services
      • headspace youth treatment centres: We will continue to safeguard the wellbeing of young Australians aged 12–25 by strengthening, enhancing, and expanding the headspace network, at a cost of $278.6 million. This includes:
        • expanding the national headspace network by establishing ten new headspace centres and upgrading five satellite services, bringing the total number of headspace services across Australia to 164, and
        • working jointly with states and territories to boost clinical capacity at existing headspace services.
      • Head to Health Kids: In partnership with state and territory governments, the Government will create up to 15 new Head to Health Kids mental health and wellbeing centres for children aged 0–12 years. These centres will provide multidisciplinary support for infants, children and their parents, and improve early intervention outcomes for children’s mental health, at a cost of $54.2 million.
    • $26.9 million to provide support for people with eating disorders and their families, including:
      • $13 million to establish a National Eating Disorder Research Centre, and
      • $2.5 million for workforce credentialing to guarantee access to high quality subsidised care for people with an eating disorder.
    • $288.5 million to include Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) therapy on the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) for patients with medication- resistant major depressive disorder
    • $111.4 million to support the take up of group therapy sessions and participation of family and carers in treatment provided under the Better Access initiative, and
    • $171.3 million for continuity of psychosocial support services for people with a severe psychosocial disability, who are currently not supported by National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • $107 million for supporting the vulnerable:
    • $79 million for key initiatives under a renewed National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy, including:
      • the development of community integrated regional suicide prevention plans, and
      • provision of local suicide prevention services, such as culturally sensitive aftercare and 24/7 crisis support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
    • $16.9 million mental health early intervention supports and preventive measures for migrants and multicultural communities, and address the cultural competence of the broader health workforce through the Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma, and Mental Health Australia for their Embrace Framework, and
    • $11.1 million to improve the outcomes for people with complex mental health needs, including cognitive disability and autism.
  • $202 million for strengthening workforce and governance arrangements:
    • $58.8 million to grow the mental health workforce by providing:
      • $27.8 million to increase the number of nurses, psychologists, and allied health practitioners in mental health settings through scholarships and clinical placements
      • $11 million to grow the psychiatrist workforce with more training places, supporting regional and remote training pathways and promoting it as a career pathway
      • $8.3 million to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the mental health workforce and offer training for culturally safe treatment
      • $3.1 million to boost and support the mental health peer workforce through scholarships and professional collaboration
      • $2.4 million to continue mental health training for practitioners in aged care and supporting collaboration through the Mental Health Professionals’ Network
      • $1 million to reduce mental health stigma among health practitioners, promoting it as a preferred career option, and
      • $0.3 million to identify opportunities to boost the skills of the mental health workforce who work with children and families.
  • $15.9 million to support GPs and other medical practitioners to provide primary mental health care
  • $7.3 million towards additional staff resources for the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) to support the Australian Government’s mental health and suicide prevention reform agenda, and
  • $117.2 million to establish a comprehensive evidence base that measures whether Australia's mental health system is operating effectively, enables services to be delivered to those who need them, and improves mental health outcomes for Australians.

Preventive Health

The Morrison Government is continuing our investment in preventive health and early intervention, protecting Australians from the impact of chronic conditions like cancer, and reducing the harm caused by alcohol and illicit substance use. Our investment of $250.9 million over four years will ensure that all Australians lead healthy and productive lives.

The soon-to-be-completed National Preventive Health Strategy 2021–2030 will assist Australians to consider how they can improve their health and wellbeing, and address early signs before it impacts them and their families. It will also reduce the overall burden on the health system that comes with supporting patients with persistent and chronic conditions.

Our Government is also significantly investing in improving cancer screening for life-threatening cancers, including lung, breast and cervical cancer. Early detection provides the best chance of beating cancer and increases survival rates. In Australia, lung cancer is the fifth most common cancer and just 18 per cent of Australians survive 5 years beyond their diagnosis.

Key investments include:

  • $1.9 million to kick-start immediate priorities outlined in the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030, once finalised
  • $125.9 million to improve cancer screening and save lives, including $6.9 million towards five lung cancer care nurses to provide support to patients and their families and for lung cancer related research activities, $32.8 million to support cervical screening programs, and $67.6 million to the BreastScreen Australia program
  • $1.8 million to increase the number of stillbirth autopsies undertaken, and develop prevention strategies
  • $74.1 million for alcohol and drug services, including $16.8 million for drug and alcohol treatment services including residential services, and $1.5 million for the successful Hello Sunday Morning Daybreak Program, and
  • $13.7 million to support the rollout of a world-leading program to prevent pre-term birth.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to sport around Australia, however Australia’s athletes and the sporting public are returning in COVID-safe ways with enthusiasm.

The Morrison Government will provide $245.8 million in funding for sport. This includes support for our Olympians and Paralympians, and grants for National Sporting Organisations to support 56 high- performance programs and more than 2,600 athletes and 320 staff and other community sporting initiatives.

We are also providing support and $17 million in funding into Basketball Australia and Football Australia, as we prepare to host some of the world’s most high profile sporting events, including the women’s basketball and soccer world cups in 2022 and 2023.

The Morrison Government is also investing more than $35 million to boost sports integrity to address the risks posed by increasingly insidious forms of manipulation and corruption.

Key spending in sport includes:

  • $40.8 million to continue the successful Sporting Schools program for a further two years, benefiting around 6,500 primary and secondary schools and up to 6 million student participants
  • $14.9 million for Sport Integrity Australia to maintain the agency's anti-doping, criminal intelligence and administrative capabilities
  • $132.8 million for high performance grants
  • $3.5 million towards operational costs for the Australian Paralympic Team’s participation in the Tokyo Paralympic Games due to the impact of COVID-19
  • $12 million for Football Australia’s high performance program for the Matildas in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, and community engagement encouraging women and girls’ participation
  • $5 million for Basketball Australia to plan and deliver the FIBA Women’s World Cup 2022 and increase female participation and leadership in basketball, and
  • $3.4 million for World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited testing lab at the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory (ASDTL) on a sustainable basis.

Guaranteeing Medicare and Access to Medicines

Guaranteeing Medicare

The Morrison Government will invest $125.7 billion over four years, an increase of over $6 billion since last year’s Budget, in Medicare, including record funding of $29.7 billion in 2021–22, and $30.5 billion in 2022–23, $32 billion in 2023–24 and $33.5 billion in 2024–25.

The Morrison Government is continuing to extend a series of primary care measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through to 31 December 2021, including telehealth, and continuing to implement reforms to the MBS from the Medicare Review Taskforce recommendations, and recommendations from the Medical Services Advisory Committee.

This incudes:

  • $711.7 million invested for new and amended listings on the MBS
    • $288.5 million to include rTMS therapy on the MBS for patients with medication-resistant major depressive disorder
    • $18.8 million for a new Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) item that utilises external beam radiotherapy for paediatric and rare cancers
    • $40.5 million for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring – a new service for diagnosing high blood pressure that is more accurate through continuous monitoring over 24 hours
    • $95.9 million for five new MBS items for pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT) of embryos for specific genetic or chromosomal abnormalities prior to implantation and pregnancy. Currently couples or individuals who know they are carriers of serious genetic disorders can only access PGT if they are able to pay privately, and
    • $22 million for gynaecological procedures, including long-term reversible contraceptives and Assisted ReproCaductive Technology.

Strengthening primary health

The Morrison Government continues to improve access to primary health care for all Australians, with an additional investment of $1.8 billion in primary care, including initiatives across the aged care and mental health pillars, as well as the continuation of our Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Budget includes investment of $204.6 million to extend telehealth, bringing total investment to date to $3.6 billion, $87.5 million for the extended operation of up to 150 GPRCs, both through to 31 December 2021, and the $1.9 billion commitment towards the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

Key measures in this Budget include:

  • $107.9 million for a new National Partnership Agreement (NPA) for Adult Dental Services, helping states and territories provide public dental services and $7.3 million for an extension of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) to children 2 years and younger
  • $71.9 million providing an additional 12 months funding for the PHN’s After Hours Program
  • $2.5 million for workforce credentialing to guarantee access to high quality, Medicare- subsidised care for people with an eating disorder, as part of a $26.9 million investment in addressing eating disorders
  • $50.7 million to continue to develop an ICT system that will enable a Voluntary Patient Registration Initiative, to be known as MyGP, which will lift the quality of services delivered to Australian patients through continuity of care
  • $301.8 million towards the next wave of My Health Record (MHR) capitalising on the connections already in place and ensuring a more coordinated healthcare future for Australia, and
  • $32.3 million for continued funding for the 2018–2022 Intergovernmental Agreement on National Digital Health, ensuring interoperability within Australia’s national digital health infrastructure.
  • In response to the Aged Care Royal Commission, the Morrison Government will invest$365.7 million to improve access to primary care for senior Australians and to better support their transition between the aged care and health care systems. This investment includes:
    • $42.8 million to double the maximum yearly incentive payment for face-to-face services by GPs within residential aged care facilities, through the Aged Care Access Incentive.
    • $37.3 million to continue the Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care initiative in all 31 PHNs, and
    • $178.9 million for Primary Health Networks to support the health of senior Australians, including telehealth, out of hours support, and dementia pathways to support assessment and referral.
  • The Morrison Government’s National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan includes significant investments in primary health including:
    • $1.4 billion in high quality and person-centred treatment, which includes the development of a national network of mental health treatments centres for adults, youth and children through the Head to Health and headspace programs
    • $34.2 million to support GPs in their role as a key entry point into the mental health system by expanding and implementing the Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) tool in primary care settings
    • $27.8 million to grow the mental health workforce, including nurses, psychologists, allied health practitioners, psychiatrists, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workforce, mental health peer workforce, practitioners in aged care, and promoting mental health as a career option within the health workforce, and
    • $15.9 million to support GPs and other medical practitioners to provide primary mental health care.
  • $63.3 million to prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and ageing outcomes, in addition to significant investments in aged care and mental health, the Morrison Government is committing:
    • $22.6 million to reform the Practice Incentives Program – Indigenous Health Incentive, encouraging continuity of care and extending the program to children under 15 years and for GP mental health care plans
    • $12 million for the Rheumatic Fever Strategy to protect against these entirely preventable illnesses - acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease
    • $19.1 million to continue to improve Australia’s trachoma elimination program, supporting the elimination of this blindness-causing infection in 2022, and
    • 30 workplace training packages will be allocated to Aboriginal Community Controlled Heath Organisations, out of 90 places worth $9.6 million, through the Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway.

Improving access to medicines

The Government will invest $43 billion over four years in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which continues to provide Australians with access to subsidised medicines for a wide range of illnesses through hospitals and community pharmacy. In 2020–21, our Government introduced the New Medicines Funding Guarantee to meet the cost of future, new and amended PBS medicines. This ensures the inclusion of new life saving medicines will never be jeopardised over a matter of funding, and the Government will continue to approve and list all medicines recommended by the medical experts.

Since February 2021, we have included additional medicines on the PBS, subsidising treatments for depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pulmonary arterial hypertension, asthma and Parkinson’s disease.

  • From June 2021, Emgality® (galcanezumab) for the treatment of chronic migraine which, for around 10,000 patients will mean they are not faced with out of pocket costs in excess of $6,800 each year
  • From May 2021, Australia’s first medicinal cannabis product has been added to the PBS, Epidyolex® (cannabidiol) for use in the treatment of Dravet syndrome, which will save more than 116 Australian patients around $24,000 a year
  • From April 2021, Kisqali® (ribociclib + fulvestrant) which for around 1,600 patients battling locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, they will no longer have costs of $50,000 per treatment
  • From March 2021, Dupixent® (dupilumab) has been added to the PBS, which will mean around 3,600 Australian patients with severe atopic dermatitis are not facing an out of pocket bill of $22,800 per year for their medication, and
  • From March 2021, Tulicity® (dulaglutide) has been added to the PBS, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus will mean some 12,000 patients will not have to pay out-of-pocket costs of more than $1,700 per year.

Our Government will provide an additional investment of $3.9 million to continue the Take Home Naloxone (THN) pilot program for a further 12 months, providing medication which can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose or adverse reaction to at risk Australians. The pilot is already operating in NSW, SA and WA.

The Government will also continue to work with the medicines and technology sector to continue streamlining and deregulating processes to apply for reimbursement of new products and services. The Government is investing $36.0 million in the Health Products Portal, a new one stop shop for applying electronically to the PBAC, MSAC and Prostheses List for reimbursement of medicines, medical and diagnostic services and medical devices. This will also speed up access to new therapies for Australian patients.

Rural Health Strategy

The Morrison Government is committed to ensuring Australians living in regional, rural and remote areas can access high quality, timely and live-saving healthcare when and where they are needed.

For the first time, the Government will implement a progressive incentive schedule, which increases bulk billing payments for doctors based on remoteness.

Scaling the Rural Bulk Billing Incentive will better recognise that doctors in rural and remote areas face higher operating costs, smaller patient populations, increased complexity in patient care, and carry a greater burden of responsibility for the healthcare needs of people living in these communities.

The Morrison Government is also directly investing $123 million in the rural health workforce and training to improve access to health in areas outside our big cities and to increase the opportunities for a rewarding career in rural, regional and remote communities.

Key investments in rural and regional health are:

  • $65.8 million to increase the Rural Bulk Billing Incentive for doctors working in rural towns and remote areas
  • $12.4 million to expand opportunities for early-career doctors to work in rural communities while they complete their medical training through the new John Flynn Prevocational Doctor Program
  • $0.3 million to develop a new model and streamline the Rural Procedural Grants Program and the Practice Incentives Program procedural GP payments into a new rural generalist GP support program for GPs with advanced skills
  • $9.6 million to add 90 workplace training packages through the Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway, with 30 allocated to Aboriginal Community Controlled Heath Organisations, and to introduce 30 new Allied Health Assistant packages
  • $29.5 million to establish an innovative funding pool for non-GP medical specialist training from 1 January 2022, and
  • $1.8 million to expand the trial of collaborative primary care models that has been running in five rural communities in western and southern NSW into other states and territories.

Supporting our Hospitals

The Morrison Government is continuing its record level investment in public hospitals, including funding under the 2020–25 National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) and the National Partnership on COVID-19, with total investment of $135.4 billion over five years, up from $13.3 billion in 2012– 13 to $25.6 billion in 2021–22 and $29.9 billion in 2024–25.

We are also committed to reforming private health insurance (PHI), making it simpler and more affordable for all Australians. Our reforms over recent years have resulted in the lowest consumer premium changes in more than 20 years and improved access to care and affordability for young people and people with a disability.

This Budget includes measures to improve sustainability and affordability of PHI into the future. The current policy settings for the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) and PHI Rebate income tiers will continue for a further two years, allowing an in-depth study of the effectiveness of current regulatory settings.

Other key investments to support our hospitals include:

  • $22 million to improve and modernise the PHI Prostheses List. This will reduce medical device costs and continue to make PHI more affordable for patients, and
  • $5.1 million to introduce an improved certification process when admitting patients to hospital for services normally delivered out of hospital. This will ensure hospital costs are funded for those services which will deliver better patient health outcomes.

Life-saving and job-creating medical research

The Morrison Government is investing $6.7 billion over four years in the 2021–22 Budget to drive world-leading research, leading to improvements in health outcomes for Australians, as well as creating jobs and economic growth.

The amount of funding provided for research projects through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) has grown from $61 million in 2016–17 and is projected be $650 million in 2022–23 and beyond.

This Budget includes significant investment in medical research, including:

  • $6.7 billion over the next four years for:
    • MRFF ($2.4 billion)
    • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ($3.6 billion), and
    • Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) ($500 million).
  • $85 million for new program rounds opening 12 May 2021, including:
    • $70 million for 2021 Clinical Trials Activity, Rare Cancer, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need program, and
    • $15 million for 2021 COVID-19 Health Impact and Vaccination Schedules.

Other life-saving and job creating research investments include:

  • $4.4 million for the staged introduction of mitochondrial donation into clinical and research settings in Australia, following the introduction of the Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021 earlier this year
  • $6 million to enhance Australia’s status as a leading option to conduct clinical trials by continuing the successful Encouraging More Clinical Trials in Australia program, and
  • $4.8 million to continue the Blood Borne Viruses (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) Research Program, reducing the incidence HIV, hepatitis B and C, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhoea.

This media release was updated on 12 May 2021. To request a copy of the original version, please contact us.


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