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08 Apr 2019


Guaranteeing essential services

Mr Speaker, a strong economy is not an end in itself. It’s what you do with it that counts.

With a strong economy, we can guarantee the essential services that Australians need and deserve.

Health is front of mind for all Australians, and this year the Government will spend more than $80 billion on healthcare.

An amount that has increased every year we have been in Government.

More MRI machines.

More life-changing medicines on the PBS.

More funding for mental health.

Better access to dental services.

Better access to hospitals.

And better access to regional GPs.

In this Budget, we are:

Funding upgrades to regional hospitals, the first being in Townsville.

Establishing Australia’s first comprehensive children’s cancer centre in Sydney.

Helping to build a new Brain and Spinal Ward in South Australia.

In this Budget, we also list more medicines on the PBS to treat kidney, bladder, liver and skin cancer.

And tonight, we announce the listing of Besponsa, a medicine for people with acute Leukaemia.

Instead of costing $120,000 a course, patients will now have access to the medicine at a cost of only $6.50 per script for concession card holders and around $40 for general patients.

This brings the total number of new listings to more than 2,000 since we came to government, costing more than $10 billion.

A real and profound dividend from a strong economy, and done without increasing taxes.

Under the Coalition, Medicare is guaranteed.

Bulk-billing is at a record high.

And we are adding new services to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, including diagnostic imaging for breast cancer and heart health checks.

We’re establishing a Heart Kids Project for new research to treat and prevent heart disease which affects thousands of Australian children.

Mr Speaker, mental health is an issue of deep concern to all Australians.

It is a national tragedy that we lose so many people to suicide and that so many people live a life of quiet desperation.

Tonight I say: we hear you and we are with you.

This issue demands our ongoing attention and resources.

We must work together to combat youth suicide as a national priority.

In this Budget, the Government will invest $461 million in Australia’s most significant youth mental health and suicide prevention strategy.

30 new headspace centres.

Reduced waiting lists.

More support for Indigenous youth including through mentoring and peer support.

Treatment for early psychosis.

A perinatal mental health program.

And extra counselling services for communities who have suffered from natural disasters.

All of this is about looking after each other.

It reflects the best of Australia and its values.

Looking after older Australians

Mr Speaker, a stronger economy also allows us to invest more in looking after older Australians.

Australians deserve to age with dignity and have earned the right to expect the highest standards of aged care services.

In some cases, these services have badly let Australians down.

That is why we established the Royal Commission into aged care.

This Budget includes a significant investment of $725 million that will deliver:

10,000 new home care packages.

Bringing to 40,000 the number of new packages announced over the last 18 months.

Additional financial support for residential care.

A capital works program with a focus on regional Australia.

And a series of new measures to improve the quality and safety of aged care services.

We achieve this without new taxes and without raiding retirees’ hard earned savings.

Mr Speaker, we also recognise the pressure energy bills place on those who can least afford it.

That’s why we are providing additional cost of living relief for pensioners through a one-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples.

This payment will be paid this financial year and comes on top of other actions the Government has taken to reduce power bills.

Mr Speaker, we know that Australia’s carers are our nation’s unsung heroes.

Their job is 24/7 and it’s emotionally as well as physically demanding.

Many carers need and deserve a rest.

So tonight we are announcing $84 million to enable carers to leave a loved one in safe hands and get a much needed break.

Mr Speaker, supporting people with disability is a moral imperative, recognised by both sides of politics.

Growing to $22 billion, it takes a strong economy to fund the NDIS fully and sustainably.

This is what our Government has done.

In this Budget, we have also set aside half a billion dollars for a Royal Commission into the mistreatment of people with disability.

Affordable housing is also a priority for this Government.

Just over a week ago, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, established by this Government, successfully issued the largest social bond in Australia’s history.

Over $300 million was raised, providing a significant injection into the community housing sector.



Published: 08 Apr 2019