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Major health investments in primary care and aged care in 2018–19 MYEFO

The Liberal National Government has made major investments in health with an additional one billion dollars for primary care and aged care in 2018–19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).

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

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Major health investments in primary care and aged care in 2018–19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).

The Liberal National Government has made major investments in health with an additional one billion dollars for primary care and aged care in 2018–19 MYEFO.

We are investing $552 million in funding in aged care, including 10,000 high level home care packages so senior Australians can live in their home independently for as long as possible.

We are spending a further $512 million in primary care, which includes $318 million for GPs in their important role of keeping people healthy.

2018–19 MYEFO strengthens the four pillars of the Government’s long-term health plan – Medicare and access to medicines, hospitals, mental health and preventive health, and research.

Community Health and Hospitals Program

The Government will improve the health and care of patients around Australia with a guaranteed $1.25 billion boost to health services.

This will provide more doctors, more nurses and more services in every state and territory.

This is the tangible benefit of a strong economy and it’s why we are so committed to keeping our economy strong.

The $1.25 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program will fund projects and services in every state and territory, supporting patient care while reducing pressure on community and hospital services.

Under the program, our Government will partner with communities, states and territories, health and hospital services and research institutions to provide additional funding in four key areas:

  • specialist hospital services such as cancer treatment, rural health and hospital infrastructure
  • drug and alcohol treatment
  • preventive, primary and chronic disease management
  • mental health

The new program will complement our record investment in public hospitals.

Our funding for public hospitals will more than double from $13.3 billion in 2012–13 to $28.7 billion in 2024–25.

This is record public hospital funding delivering more doctors, more nurses and more services.

Our new 5-year National Health Reform Agreement will deliver more than $30 billion in additional public hospital funding from 2020–21 to 2024–25, taking overall funding during this period to $130.2 billion.

Primary care

The Government’s commitment to Medicare is rock solid.

We continue to strengthen and guarantee Medicare, including providing newly subsidised services for patients across a range of conditions with an investment of $512 million in primary care.

$318 million will directly benefit GPs in their important role of keeping people healthy and delivering improved access through $33.5 million for expanded telehealth, $98 million for providing care to residents in aged care homes and $159 million for after-hours services.

Patients will soon be able to claim a new range of services under Medicare, giving them affordable access to more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for a range of conditions.

The Government is investing $58.9 million to add the new services to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

They relate to bladder cancer, liver cancer, obstetrics, Alport Syndrome, x-ray services in aged care homes, and services intended to avoid multiple pathology biopsies.

The Government has allocated $5.8 million to trial a new network of community-based specialised nurses to care for people living with neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease.

This will help the many people living with these conditions to remain in their own homes and community for as long as possible.

Changes to the MBS recommended by the independent, clinician-led MBS Review Taskforce will benefit heart patients and people with eating disorders.

The Health Care Homes model of caring for people with chronic and complex conditions through a GP headed, team-based, approach, is being extended and further refined. It will be extended to 30 June 2021.


We continue to list on the PBS every medicine approved by the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, making new, essential medicines affordable for all Australians.

2018–19 MYEFO invests $1.4 billion in new medicines, meaning patients will pay just $39.50 per script or $6.40 for concessional patients, saving them up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.

This includes listing golimumab (Simponi®, Simponi Smartject®) for the treatment of inflammation of the joints of the spine – active non-radiographic axial spondyloarhritis.

This will benefit an average of 3,868 patients a year. Without subsidy, this treatment would cost patients around $16,402 a year.

It also includes listing evolocumab (Repatha®) for the treatment of elevated cholesterol due to a genetic condition – heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia.

This will benefit an average of 6,204 patients a year. Without subsidy, this treatment would cost patients around $8,223 a year.

The listing of Orkambi®, a life-changing cystic fibrosis medicine which can significantly extend the lives of patients, means more than 1200 patients who would otherwise pay up to $250,000 a year for the medicine will only pay a maximum of $39.50 per script, with concessional patients paying just $6.40.

A $52 million investment in the meningococcal vaccine will mean free access for more than one million teenagers over the next four years.

We are now making on average one new or amended PBS listing every single day.

Since coming in to Government, the Coalition has helped to improve the health of Australians by subsidising around $10 billion worth of new medicines, many of which would be prohibitively expensive without subsidy.


We are investing more than $100 million to ensure low income households, including concession card holders such as pensioners, can get affordable public dental care.

This will mean an extra nearly 180,000 services delivered at little or no cost to patients.

Mental health

We continue to strengthen mental health as a key part of our long term health plan. With three quarters of all mental illness manifesting in people under 25, young people are the focus of mental health spending in 2018–19 MYEFO.

Four new headspace services will be established in areas of high need – two in SA at Mount Barker and Victor Harbor, one at Margaret River, WA and one in Wangaratta, Victoria.

Costing $4.9 million, they will increase young people’s access to mental health services and address the higher than average suicide rates in these regional areas.

The services will be established from existing headspace centres in Murray Bridge SA, Bunbury WA and Wodonga VIC. There are currently 107 headspace centres nationally, with a further three to start operating early next year.

Strengthening mental health care includes a stronger mental health workforce.

Our Government is providing $1 million to develop a new national mental health workforce strategy to attract, train and retain the workforce needed to meet the demands of the mental health system in the future, particularly in rural and remote areas.

This is in addition to the Government’s investment of $51.8 million in headspace, $26.9 million for mental health support for farmers in hardship, $33.8 million for Beyond Blue’s National Depression and Anxiety Initiative, and $110.7 million for improved care for people suffering from eating disorders.


Our landmark Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) goes from strength to strength.

The Government will provide $50.0 million over five years from 2018–19 (including $10.0 million in 2022-23) to enable the establishment of eight centres of excellence across Australia to deliver genomics-based clinical trials to around 5,000 Australians affected by rare, less common and early onset cancers.

Aged care

We are delivering 10,000 high level home care packages so senior Australians can live in their home longer and stay independent.

The Government is building on its $5 billion investment in the 2018–19 Budget with more than $552 million in further funding, including $287 million with an extra 5,000 level three and 5,000 level four care packages.

The packages, to be released within weeks, will help more senior Australians access high level home care packages sooner.

These packages are on top of an additional 20,000 home care packages funded in the past year.

In addition, the Government will be assisting seniors with the cost of living, by reducing their home care fee.

Consumers will pay $400 less for a level one package, $200 less for a level two package and $100 less for a level three package.

The Government is also providing extra support to residential aged care.

The viability supplement for eligible residential aged care providers is to be increased by 30 per cent.

The supplement is paid to eligible rural and remote residential aged care providers, and to providers specialising in caring for the homeless and First Australians, on top of normal subsidies.

Currently, more than 550 services, accounting for around 13,500 residential care places, receive the viability supplement to offset their higher costs in providing care. The Government is allocating $101.9 million for the increase.

The homeless supplement will also be increased by 30 per cent, with a total investment of $9.3 million. The supplement is paid to providers of care to people who are homeless.

Currently, 42 residential services receive the homeless supplement on behalf of more than 1,700 residents.

These initiatives continue the rollout of the Government’s comprehensive aged care reform agenda. Importantly, our investment in aged care will continue as the Royal Commission into quality and safety in aged care progresses.

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