Federal Budget 2024: ANMF welcomes funding for health and aged care


Key Budget wins include 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.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler. Photo: Chris Hopkins

“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.”

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

Students

More than 73,000 eligible nursing, midwifery, teaching and social work students each year will receive a Commonwealth ‘Prac Payment’ of $319.50 per week for the duration of their placement. The $427.4 million funding is aiming help to alleviate the significant financial impact of mandatory placements and increase retention in courses for careers in sectors experiencing shortages.

There’s also $239.7 million to cap indexation of Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) and other student loan debts to the lower of the Consumer Price Index or Wage Price Index, so growth in debt does not outpace wages growth.

Aged Care

The government has reiterated its commitment to fully fund further wage rises for aged care workers ruled by the Fair Work Commission.

In its 2024-25 Budget, it is investing:

  • $531.4 million to provide an extra 24,100 Home Care Packages
  • $110 million to enhance the capability of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, including implementing the regulatory framework that will underpin the new Aged Care Act
  • $88.4 million to continue to attract and retain the aged care workforce.
  • $1.4 billion to upgrade the technology systems and digital infrastructure across the sector.

Superannuation on Government-funded PPL

The Government has committed $1.1 billion to pay superannuation on Government-funded Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for parents of babies born or adopted on or after 1 July 2025.

Healthcare

The government has invested $8.5 billion into health this budget.

This includes injecting $227 million to grow the number of Medicare Urgent Care Clinics from 58 to 87 to take pressure off busy hospital emergency departments.

The budget also includes strategies to deliver cheaper medicines, including $469.1 million to reduce patient costs and improve access to medicines, with a one-year freeze on the maximum co-payment of a PBS prescription for everyone with a Medicare card, and a five-year freeze for pensioners and other concession cardholders. It means the price will remain at $31.60, or $7.70 per medicine for concession card holders and pensioners.

Women’s health was also high on the budget agenda, with $49.1 million allocated for higher Medicare rebates to see a gynaecologist for conditions like endometriosis, and $56.5 million for new Medicare services for midwives to provide longer consultations before and after the birth of a child.

The government also committed $361 million over four years to expand a range of free mental health services and will launch a new national early intervention service to ensure people can access support before their distress escalates to needing higher intensity services like a mental health treatment plan, acute in-patient service or crisis line.

Nurse Practitioners

  • Two new MBS items for NPs – longer consultations – one face-to-face and one telehealth for consultations over 60 minutes to be introduced in 2025.
  • $5.2 million of training scholarships for LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptive) and IUD insertions and removals, to include NPs.
  • 11,000 scholarships for health practitioners, including NPs, to undertake training in menopause to improve women’s health.
  • Access to MBS subsidised pelvic ultrasound pre and post MS-2 Step for people seeing NPs.

Tax cuts

The Government has legislated tax cuts for all 13.6 million Australian taxpayers from 1 July 2024 in a bid to provide cost-of-living relief. On average, taxpayers will receive a tax cut of $1,888 or $36 per week, in 2024–25.

Other costs of living measures include a $300 rebate on every household’s power bills and an additional 10% increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

One Response

  1. Can anyone explain why EN/EEN are not included in registered staff hours funding in Aged Care or being pushed to be included in the funding?

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