A strong economy guarantees access to life-saving, life-changing medicines and all the other services that are essential to our national health. The Coalition Government is providing record funding for medicare, new medicines, mental health, medical research and hospitals.
Hospital funding up
Hospitals around Australia will receive $30 billion of additional investment which can only be achieved with a strong and sustainable economy. Commonwealth funding for public hospital services in Victoria has increased from $3.3 billion in 2012-13 to $7.1 billion in 2024-25, or 116.2 per cent over this period.
The Government’s investment in mental health is over $4.2 billion per year. We are committed to investing in the best possible prevention, early intervention, treatment, research and care for young Australians who have mental illnesses, or who are at risk of developing mental illness. The 2018-19 budget included an additional $338 million in funding for mental health, and adds to the $110 million to expand mental health programs for children, adolescents and young adults announced in January 2018. These services cover the entire spectrum of support, from low intensity services to crisis care, and suicide prevention.
Kooyong is fortunate to host a headspace site in Hawthorn which also receives federal government funding. This model provides support to young people aged 12 to 25 years with, or at risk of, mild to moderate mental illness. For young people with severe mental illness, the Government funds the Early Psychosis Youth Services program, a specialist service for young people aged 12 to 25 years with, or at risk of, early psychosis. The Government is also investing in youth severe mental health services through funding to 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) for mental health and suicide prevention planning at a regional level. Under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Support Program, the Government provides support to young people at risk of suicide. This includes ReachOut Australia’s youth mental health portal, Orygen and the National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health’s Chatsafe Project.
We have also established twelve suicide prevention trial sites to improve our understanding of what strategies are most effective in preventing suicide at a local level and for at-risk populations, including young people. As part of this year’s Budget, beyondblue which is based in Hawthorn, received a proportion of $46 million for its integrated school-based Mental Health in Education initiative and Emerging Minds received $16 million for the National Workforce Support in Child Mental Health initiative. The Budget also included $33.8 million to Lifeline Australia to enhance its telephone crisis services.
More life saving medicines listed on the PBS
The Coalition Government has invested over $9 billion in new listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for more than 1900 new drugs since we came to Government in 2013. This year through the PBS, the Government has listed a number of life-changing medications including Kisqali for over 3,000 breast cancer patients.This investment of $703.6 million will save patients over $71,000 a year. Spinraza, which treats Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and previously cost $370,000 a year, will now as a result of its PBS listing, cost $40 a script. Sufferers of classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma will no longer pay over $200,000 per course of treatment, now only paying a maximum of $39.50 per script, with concessional patients–including pensioners–paying just $6.40. We’ve also made available new life-changing immunotherapy medicines such as Opdivo® (a $1 billion lung cancer and renal cell cancer drug) and listed Yervoy® for the treatment of unresectable Stage II or Stage IV malignant melanoma.
Rock solid commitment to Medicare
Australians rely on Medicare to provide a safety net to meet their health needs. We are continuing our rock-solid commitment to Medicare with an additional $4.8 billion investment, building on the Medicare Guarantee Fund we established last year.
Fully funding the NDIS
This budget guarantees the funding of the National Disability and Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Australians with a permanent and significant disability deserve the best care we can provide. The NDIS commenced in Kooyong in November 2017 and once fully established will directly help an estimated 1,800 residents.
Funding for Australia’s health and medical research sector
The Coalition Government has allocated a record $6 billion for health and medical research. This includes continued funding for the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Biomedical Translation Funds and $2 billion in disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund.This investment includes $1.3 billion for a new National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan to improve health outcomes for hundreds of thousands of Australians, create tens of thousands of jobs, and develop Australia’s next generation of global-leading industries.
Free flu vaccine
The Coalition Government has provided two new ground-breaking flu vaccines to over three million Australians aged 65 years and over – free of charge. The vaccines were fast-tracked to ensure lives are saved and older Australians receive greater protection.
Tackling drug addiction
To tackle the scourge of Ice and other drugs, the Coalition Government has committed more than $685 million over four years to reduce the impact of drug and alcohol misuse. This includes funding for Primary Health Networks for locally based treatment; 260 new services for Indigenous communities; funding for the Alcohol and Drug Foundation for 220 Local Drug Action Teams; new Medicare funding for Addiction Medical Specialists; and funding for research into new treatment options and training.
Under the stewardship of the Coalition Government we now have a much stronger economy, which will enable us to deliver the essential health services Australians need and expect.