Australia adds additional $9.8 billion in healthcare and Covid response package

The Australian Government has allocated an additional $9.8 billion in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) update to continue to deliver Telehealth and Covid vaccinations, as well as to ensuring Australians have access to world-class health care and pharmaceuticals.

The investment continues to support the Government’s goal of making Australia’s health services the best in the world, as outlined in Australia’s Long Term Health Plan.

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed a threat to every Australian, and the government has spent $34 billion in total health spending since the outbreak began.

In response to the emergence of the new Omicron variant, the government committed an additional $540 million to strengthen the health response, particularly in vulnerable communities such as aged care, disability, and remote communities, as well as to ensure the National Plan to Transition Australia’s National Covid-19 Response continues to progress.

When compared to the loss of life averaged across the OECD, these efforts have helped save around 30,000 Australian lives from Covid-19, and more nearly 45,000 lives when compared to the US or the UK.

The epidemic has accelerated the introduction of telehealth across Medicare, allowing professionals and their patients to be protected from unwanted Covid-19 exposure. Now, the Australian Government is making it a permanent element of Australia’s health systems.

The Government is delivering a once-in-a-generation change to the way Australians access health care by investing $106 million over four years in permanent telehealth as part of a larger $308.6 million primary care package. Telehealth will also enhance access to high-quality care, particularly for people living in regional, rural, and remote areas of Australia. There is much more information about these methods available on the internet.

The Australian government is also pushing ahead with major reforms in elderly care and mental health, building on investments of $17.7 billion and $2.3 billion in Budget 2021–22, respectively.

COVID-19 Response

With more than 93 percent of the population aged 16 and over fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Australia remains one of the most immunised countries in the world against the coronavirus.

Over the course of five years, more than $12 billion has been spent to distribute and administer Covid-19 vaccinations to eligible people across Australia, with more than $8 billion spent on vaccines and booster doses.

The road map for living with Covid-19 is the National Plan to Transition Australia’s National Covid-19 Response, and the Australian Government’s investment guarantees that safeguards that have helped keep Australians safe are maintained.

The Australian government has already announced a $540 million extension of the Covid-19 response measures, which include:

  • Extension of the Aged Care Preparedness Support Measures
  • Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (Victorian Aged Care Response Centre) (VACRC)
  • COVID-19 Program Support for Aged Care Workers (SACWIC)
  • Indigenous and Remote Response Measures (COVID-19)
  • National Incident Centre (NIC)
  • COVID-19 pathology items MBS costs
  • Pathology testing for COVID-19 in elderly care
  • Aged Care: The RAD Loan Program, and
  • In order for health research regarding COVID-19 vaccines, therapy, and modelling to be conducted.

More information regarding the $540 million extension of COVID-19 measures can be found on the official Covid-19 website of Australia.

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