Budget delivers welcome funding for health and aged care

The largest union in the country, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) welcomes the Albanese Government’s $8.5 billion in the Budget for health, including $2.8 billion to strengthen Medicare and $2.2 billion for aged care to continue implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

The ANMF applauds new Medicare rebates for midwives to provide longer consultations before and after child birth; additional bulk-billed, urgent care clinics; higher Medicare rebates for women to see a gynaecologist for endometriosis and access to longer consultations; expanded, free mental health services; new PBS listings for invasive breast cancer and heart disease and bowel cancer screening and increased Commonwealth contributions to the cost of care under the National Health Reform Agreement.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said tax cuts; $1.1 billion in superannuation contributions for paid parental leave (PPL); funding for further wage rises for aged care workers; paid clinical placements for nursing and midwifery students and reductions in HECS debts, would also help ease the ever-increasing cost-of-living pressures for frontline nurses, midwives and care workers.

“This Budget is good news for our ANMF members,” Ms Butler said.

“The Government’s continuing commitment to investment in health and aged care addresses a number of issues that have been impacting the ability of our nurses, midwives and care workers to deliver quality care and creates a pathway for further, and much needed, policy reforms leading to a modern Medicare and improved access to timely health care.

“While full details will follow, the Government’s commitment to funding further wage increases in aged care will certainly be welcomed by under-paid and undervalued, predominantly female, workers. We commend the Government for recognising the true value of the work performed in traditionally female dominated industries.

“But we are calling on the Government to commit to bold reforms, which empower nurses and midwives to work to their full scope of practice – and the additional MBS rebates announced in tonight’s Budget for midwives, is a promising first-step for our members.

“The Government must remove historic barriers which continue to prevent Australians from accessing quality care when and where they need it, without the need to see a doctor.

“Placing nurses and midwives at the forefront of patient-centred care is the answer to fixing and future-proofing health and aged care.”

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