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Health and Ageing

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — More Places, Better Care

The Government will provide $2.2 billion over five years for a range of measures in response to the recommendations of the Hogan Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care.

Professor Hogan found that the residential aged care sector required structural reform to become more efficient and to ensure its long-term financial sustainability. He recommended a number of measures to alleviate short-term financial pressures, especially in the areas of workforce, quality of care and capital raising. The Government’s initial response, being announced in the Budget, addresses the short-term issues identified by Professor Hogan and puts in place a number of reforms that are necessary to enable future efficiency gains.

The Government will consider further reforms in response to Professor Hogan’s recommendations about longer term issues in the lead-up to the 2005-06 Budget.

Table 9: Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — Summary of measures

Table 9:  Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — Summary of measures

  1. This is a one-off payment in 2003-04.
Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — funding improved standards of accreditation
Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide funding of $513.3 million in 2003-04 for a one-off grant to providers of $3,500 per aged care resident. This grant is in recognition of the forward plan for improved safety and building standards for aged care homes developed and agreed with industry, and in particular the improved fire safety requirements.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — Conditional Adjustment Payment

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 69.3 147.1 226.2 317.5
Department of Veterans’ Affairs 11.8 25.5 39.5 55.6
Total 81.0 172.6 265.7 373.2

The Government will provide $892.5 million over four years to improve the viability of aged care services.

Funding of $877.8 million over four years will be used to pay providers a Conditional Adjustment Payment of 1.75 per cent in 2004-05 and increasing by 1.75 per cent annually thereafter to an increase of 7 per cent by 2007-08, in line with the recommendations of the Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care. This payment will be on top of the recurrent basic subsidy for care currently around $30,500 for the average subsidy. This new payment will be in addition to normal indexation and will be conditional on providers making audited financial statements publicly available, participating in a periodic workforce census and encouraging staff training.

Funding of $14.8 million over four years will be used to increase the viability supplement paid to small service providers, mainly in rural and remote areas, given their lower capacity to generate income and capital.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — better skills for better care

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 8.9 17.7 18.1 18.4
Department of Education, Science and Training 5.2 8.5 11.3 13.4
Total 14.2 26.2 29.4 31.8
  1. A positive number for revenue indicates an increase in the fiscal balance.

The Government will provide $101.4 million over four years to enhance opportunities for educational training for a range of direct care workers in the residential aged care industry.

The funding will provide for an additional 8,000 Workplace English Language and Literacy training places, 15,750 vocational education and training places and up to 5,250 places for medication management training. The funding will also provide for an additional 400 undergraduate nurse training places in 2005 growing to 1094 over the four years. The funding for vocational education and training and medication management training places will be provided to eligible aged care providers to purchase the training directly.

Under accepted accounting practice, the amount loaned to students under the Higher Education Loans Programme (HELP) is treated as a financial asset and therefore does not impact on the fiscal balance. Payment by students of the indexation component under HELP is treated as interest revenue and impacts on the fiscal balance from 2005-06.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — building better aged care homes

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 104.9 96.0 88.5 83.4
Department of Veterans’ Affairs 18.5 16.9 15.6 14.7
Total 123.4 113.0 104.1 98.1

The Government will provide $438.6 million over four years to increase the payment it makes on behalf of residents who cannot afford to contribute to the cost of accommodation. The maximum rate of the concessional resident supplement will be increased to $16.25 per day to match the new maximum rate of the accommodation charge that providers will be able to charge new non-concessional residents entering high care. The rates of transitional and respite supplements will also be increased. The five-year limit on accommodation charges will be abolished for new residents.

The increased concessional resident supplement and the increased accommodation charge will assist providers meet new and existing capital requirements. This approach to capital raising will help move the sector to a more financially secure future in the long-term.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — more aged care places

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - 38.7 32.3
Department of Veterans’ Affairs - - -4.6 -7.9
Total - - 34.1 24.4

The Government will provide $58.4 million over two years from 2006-07 to increase the aged care planning ratio for the provision of aged care places to 108 operational places for every 1,000 people aged 70 years and over. The current ratio is 100 places.

This measure will also change the current balance of aged care places to 40 high care residential places, 48 low care residential places and 20 Community Aged Care Packages per 108 places from the existing ratio of 40 high care, 50 low care and 10 community care places. While 48 out of the 108 places are allocated for low care, these can be used for ageing in place. Currently, 62 per cent of all residential places are used for high care. The change in the mix of aged care places responds to the preference of older Australians to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — improving assessment

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 10.1 15.0 11.2 11.4

The Government will provide $47.9 million (including $0.2 million capital funding) over four years to enhance the capability of Aged Care Assessment Teams as well as to develop and to implement common arrangements for aged care programmes.

Aged Care Assessment Teams will conduct more assessments, thus improving the timeliness of assessments. Aged Care Assessment Teams will also be more involved in case management.

Funding will be provided for the development and implementation of common assessment processes, eligibility requirements, standards of service provision and performance monitoring processes for aged care programmes. This will establish more streamlined arrangements for these programmes.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — streamlining administration for better care

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 9.9 15.1 20.4 16.5
Department of Veterans’ Affairs 0.7 1.4 1.4 1.6
Total 10.6 16.5 21.8 18.1

The Government will provide $81.9 million (including $14.9 million capital funding) over four years to streamline administration for better care.

From 1 July 2004, an Aged Care Assessment Team assessment will no longer be required when a resident ages in place from low to high care within the same home. Funding of $29.2 million over four years will be provided to strengthen the arrangements for classification reviews undertaken by the Department of Health and Ageing. This will improve the capacity to identify incorrect funding classifications. The Resident Classification Scale will be rationalised from eight levels to three (high, medium and low) from 2006. Existing residents will remain in their current classification until they require a higher level of care.

The Government will provide funding of $33 million (including $14.9 million capital funding) over four years to introduce an e-commerce platform for the residential aged care payment system. This will reduce paperwork for providers and increase efficiency in the information exchange between the Government and aged care service providers.

The Government will also provide $14.6 million over four years for Centrelink to assess the assets of prospective residents in order to determine their eligibility for concessional supplements. Currently this assessment is done by residential aged care providers, so this measure will ensure consistency in the determination of concessional status, as well as alleviate the administrative burden on providers. Funding of $5.1 million over four years will be provided to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to assess the assets of veterans entering residential aged care.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — additional funding for the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - 6.1 4.8

The Government will provide $36.3 million over four years to ensure that the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency is appropriately resourced to maintain the current levels of monitoring and accreditation activity for around 3,000 aged residential care facilities.

The additional resourcing will allow the Agency to record a breakeven position. The impact on the fiscal balance shown in the table above is less than the total resourcing provided in 2004-05 and 2005-06 because the Agency was already projecting losses in these years.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — enhanced consumer information and protection

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 2.0 0.3 0.3 0.3

The Government will provide $3 million (including $0.2 million capital funding) over four years to improve the level of market information and protections provided for residents of residential aged care homes.

An internet-based information service as well as a ‘star rating’ system will be developed to provide consumers with better information on the quality of care in aged care homes, as well as information on fees and services.

Funding will also be provided to establish industry-funded arrangements to provide security for aged care accommodation bonds should a residential aged care provider no longer be in a position to meet its liabilities.

This measure also allows for the indexation of accreditation fees paid to the Aged Care Standards Accreditation Agency.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — new supplement for residents with dementia exhibiting challenging behaviours and with other complex palliative care needs

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will introduce two new care supplements, one for residents with dementia exhibiting challenging behaviours and the other for residents with other complex palliative care needs. This will ensure that resources available for subsidising care are better targeted to residents’ care needs.

The cost of this measure will be absorbed from within existing resources.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — more funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Services

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 1.5 2.7 2.9 3.1

The Government will provide $10.3 million over four years to improve the quality of residential aged care provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Services.

The funding will allow for the payment of viability support payments to these services for the first time. It also includes an amount equivalent to the Conditional Adjustment Payment and the increase in concessional supplements that are part of the Government’s response to the Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care and which the Flexible Services would have received if they were funded under the Aged Care Act 1997.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — strengthening culturally appropriate aged care for established culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 2.1 3.1 3.2 3.3

The Government will provide $11.6 million over four years for the funding of aged care support services to established migrant communities.

Services to these communities are currently provided through the Community Settlements Services Scheme in the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and the Ethnic Aged Services Grants Programme in the Department of Health and Ageing. These services will be consolidated into a new programme in the Department of Health and Ageing, consistent with the Department’s responsibility for aged care services. This initiative responds to the Report of the Review of Settlement Services and the Report of the Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care.

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care — implementation and communication

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 9.3 2.1 1.4 1.5

The Government will provide $14.3 million over four years to support the implementation of the Government’s response to the Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care and to ensure that clear information about the impact of changes to residential aged care policy and programmes is available to aged care providers and older Australians and their families.

Other measures in the Health and Ageing portfolio

Aged and Community Care — implementation of a quality assurance framework for community care and respite care

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 3.6 3.2 3.3 3.5

The Government will provide $13.7 million (including $0.1 million capital funding) over four years to implement a Quality Assurance framework for the Community Aged Care Packages, Extended Aged Care at Home and National Respite for Carers programmes.

Under these programmes, the Government provides community-based care services to over 100,000 frail elderly Australians to enable them to stay in their homes as an alternative to entering residential care. This measure puts in place a system to ensure that the care provided to these Australians is maintained at a high quality.

Aged Care — continuation of simpler income-testing of residential aged care

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Veterans’ Affairs - - - -
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -
Total - - - -

The Government will provide $14.7 million over four years to continue simplified income testing processes for residential aged care.

This initiative has simplified and reduced the paperwork burden for residents, families and service providers by moving from daily assessment of fees to a system of quarterly reviews of income-tested fees. The expenditure involved reflects increased subsidies as a result of the simpler income-testing arrangements.

This measure will involve funding of $3.6 million in 2004-05, $3.6 million in 2005-06, $3.7 million in 2006-07 and $3.8 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Aged Care — continue the subsidisation of the accreditation fees for small residential aged care facilities

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing -1.2 -0.1 -1.9 -1.4

The Government will provide $1.8 million over four years to continue assisting small aged care homes (including those in rural and remote Australia) to meet costs associated with accreditation. A tapered fee subsidy is available to facilities with between 20 and 25 residents, while the full cost of accreditation fees is paid for facilities with 19 places or less.

This measure will involve funding of $0.1 million in 2004-05, $1.3 million in 2005-06, $0.2 million in 2006-07 and $0.1 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

An additional amount of $4.6 million was also included in the forward estimates for this programme but is no longer required due to decreased estimates. The decrease in estimates is due to restructuring in the aged care industry leading to a trend to larger facilities, as well as a greater proportion of homes receiving three year accreditation.

Aged Care — ensuring quality care for residents

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $12.7 million over four years to continue ensuring the quality of care for residents of aged care facilities.

A national network of specialised investigators has been established to investigate possible shortcomings and complaints relating to the standards of care in residential aged care facilities. This will help ensure that providers deliver a minimum acceptable standard of care to residents and that complaints are promptly investigated and resolved.

This measure involves funding of $3.1 million in 2004-05, $3.2 million in 2005-06, $3.2 million in 2006-07 and $3.2 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Aged Care — Office of the Commissioner for Complaints

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will continue to support the independent oversight of the Aged Care Complaints Resolution Scheme by a Commissioner for Complaints to help maintain community confidence in the Scheme.

The cost of this measure will be fully absorbed from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Health and Ageing.

Avian Influenza — enhancement of diagnostic and research capacity

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 2.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

The Government will provide $3.9 million over four years for the enhancement of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza. This measure will ensure Australia is better prepared to respond to and manage an avian influenza (bird flu) health emergency, or other similar emergency, through high-level specialised influenza reference laboratory facilities.

The funding will be used to upgrade the facility to ensure the biosecurity of dangerous influenza viruses, making this the only WHO reference laboratory with this capacity in the southern hemisphere.

Avian Influenza — information for arriving passengers and health care professionals

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $1.9 million in 2003-04 for an information and education programme targeted at arriving passengers and health care professionals to increase awareness of the threat of avian influenza (bird flu). This will include the development and production of information in a range of languages to be available to passengers arriving in Australia from affected countries.

This programme will help to ensure that any cases of the influenza are identified quickly.

Avian Influenza — purchase of protective and monitoring equipment

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 2.1 - - -

The Government will provide $4 million over two years (including $1.9 million capital funding in 2003-04) to purchase equipment to enhance Australia’s readiness to respond in the event of an avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak.

Thermal imaging equipment will be purchased to scan incoming arrivals to Australia as part of a strategy aiming to prevent or slow the potential spread of a pandemic strain of influenza into Australia. The short incubation period of influenza makes thermal screening a potentially effective tool in identifying carriers in the early stages of the disease.

This measure will also allow for the purchase of rapid diagnostic kits which would be used to quickly assess travellers with symptoms of influenza or a detected fever.

The capital funding will provide border workers and poultry workers with disposable protective masks in the case of an avian influenza pandemic or similar health emergency. Border workers will also be provided with a one-month supply of necessary personal protective equipment (such as goggles and gowns) for use in the event of a suspected outbreak of avian influenza.

See also the related expense measure Avian Influenza — enhanced quarantine arrangements in the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio.

Bali Terrorist Attacks — assistance to States and Territories for the initial treatment of victims

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $3.5 million in 2003-04 to New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to assist in meeting the substantial public hospital costs of treating patients following the bombing in Bali, Indonesia on 12 October 2002.

Provision for these payments was made in the Contingency Reserve in the 2003-04 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook as part of the measure Bali Terrorist Attacks - assistance to States and Territories for the initial treatment of victims. These payments are in addition to the $1.3 million provided previously to the Northern Territory.

Cochlear implant upgrades — increased funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 2.4 1.7 1.7 1.8

The Government will provide an additional $7.6 million over four years to improve children’s access to Cochlear implant speech processor upgrades.

This funding will enable Australian Hearing to improve the health and developmental opportunities of children with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss or nerve deafness. Funding in 2004-05 will provide for an additional 330 upgrades, substantially reducing the current waiting list. Funding in subsequent years will provide for up to 230 additional upgrades annually.

Consumer and Community Involvement in Influencing Health Decisions Programme — continuation

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $9.7 million over four years to the Consumer and Community Involvement in Influencing Health Decisions Programme. This programme enables the community’s expectations and concerns about health and the health system in general to be identified and tracked over time. It consists of a market research programme to identify and track consumer expectations and experiences of the health system, as well as a triennial National Health Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This measure will involve funding of $2.4 million in 2004-05, $2.4 million in 2005-06, $2.4 million in 2006-07 and $2.5 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding is already included in the forward estimates.

Diagnostic products — revised purchasing arrangements

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
National Blood Authority - -1.8 -1.8 -1.8

From 1 July 2005, the Government will move to a competitive market for the supply of diagnostic products used to determine blood type and antibody status for blood transfusions and other purposes.

The move will introduce a competitive environment that will allow end-users such as public and private laboratories and research and teaching institutions to purchase diagnostic products from the provider of their choice. While the products will no longer be provided free of charge, public sector end-users will receive an ongoing subsidy for their purchase.

This measure is expected to lead to savings of $5.3 million over three years as well as more efficient use of products and reduced wastage. The States will realise savings of $1 million per annum in line with cost-sharing arrangements in place under the National Blood Agreement.

Divisions of General Practice — continued funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $302.4 million over four years to continue funding the Divisions of General Practice network (the Divisions network). The object of the Divisions network is to promote the health and wellbeing of Australians, while also acting as one of Australia’s largest representative voices for GPs. 

The measure will involve funding of $73.4 million in 2004-05, $74.8 million in 2005-06, $76.3 million in 2006-07 and $77.9 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding is already included in the forward estimates.

Food Safety — OzFoodNet

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0

The Government will provide $4 million over four years to fund the operation of OzFoodNet, Australia’s national system for the surveillance of food-borne illness. OzFoodNet provides a mechanism to detect concurrent events of food-borne illness across the nation that otherwise may not attract significant attention or be recognised nationally until they had developed into a major incident. The result should be earlier warning and response in the event of any outbreak of food contamination.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand — continuation of additional funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $26.4 million over four years to continue higher resourcing for Food Standards Australia New Zealand to enable it to continue to effectively manage current and emerging food regulatory issues. Food Standards Australia New Zealand work includes safety assessment of, and approvals for, genetically modified food and other novel food products; management of therapeutic products in foods; allergen and nutritional labelling on food; and risk assessments for imported foods.

This measure will involve funding of $6.6 million in each year from 2004-05 to 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

GP services — improving after-hours access

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 1.6 1.6 1.7 1.7

The Government will provide exemptions from subsection 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 on a case-by-case and time limited basis to allow up to 10 after-hours GP clinics to be set up with assistance from the States. This will improve access to after-hours GP services and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments.

The clinics may be co-located with a public hospital or set up as stand-alone clinics. The services provided will be eligible for Medicare Benefits Schedule rebates.

The exemptions will be assessed against a range of criteria including the level of after-hours services currently provided within a reasonable geographic proximity of the proposed GP clinic.

To date, four clinics have been approved for operation in Western Australia. The estimated cost of these four clinics is $6.9 million over five years (including $0.1 million in 2003-04) including $0.1 million in related capital for the Health Insurance Commission. Provision for the cost of a further six clinics has been made in the Contingency Reserve, but the final costs will not be known until applications have been received and assessed.

Health Insurance Commission — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Health Insurance Commission 30.0 27.8 32.0 35.6

The Government will provide $125.4 million over four years to the Health Insurance Commission (HIC) to ensure it is appropriately resourced to continue to deliver a range of health and family service programmes.

The requirement for additional funding for HIC was identified by an extensive activity-based costing and benchmarking review conducted by the Department of Finance and Administration, the Department of Health and Ageing and HIC. In addition to providing additional funding, the Government has put in place a range of governance measures to ensure that HIC remains on a financially sustainable footing in the future.

As part of the review, HIC also identified that it no longer requires $36.1 million in capital funding over two years (including $22 million in 2003-04) to complete its Business Improvement programme and has reduced its estimates appropriately.

Of the $125.4 million to be provided, provision of $54.2 million was made in the Contingency Reserve in the 2003-04 Budget for the expected impact of the review from 2004-05 onwards.

Human cloning and research involving human embryos — legislative reviews

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 1.7 0.5 - -

The Government will provide $2.2 million over two years to fund reviews of the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002.

These reviews are a statutory requirement of both Acts and must commence as soon as possible after 19 December 2004 and be completed within 12 months. The outcome of the reviews will inform the Government’s policy on human cloning and the regulation of research involving human embryos.

Inborn errors of metabolism — grant for high cost special foods

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $11.8 million over four years to continue to assist people with inborn errors of metabolism to purchase high cost special foods.

This measure will involve funding of $2.9 million in 2004-05, $2.9 million in 2005-06, $3 million in 2006-07, and $3.1 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Kids Help Line — assistance

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $2 million in 2003-04 to allow the Kids Help Line service to recruit and train more volunteers and maintain its infrastructure.

The Kids Help Line is a non-profit organisation providing telephone and online counselling services for children and young people in need. Funding to recruit and train more volunteers will assist with the effective delivery of the Kids Help Line’s 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-per-week service.

Life Saving Drugs Programme — treatment of Fabry’s disease

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 10.4 10.3 10.3 10.3

The Government will add Fabrazyme and Replagal to the Life Saving Drugs Programme for the treatment of Fabry’s disease at a cost of $41.3 million over four years. These additions to the programme, which will come into effect from 1 July 2004, will provide free access to eligible patients. Treatment costs are greater than $300,000 per year in some cases.

Fabry’s disease is a rare inherited enzyme deficiency that leads to widespread disruption of tissues and organs, causing significant morbidity and reduction in lifespan. These additions to the programme are in response to recommendations made by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, which determined that Fabrazyme and Replagal were clinically effective but did not meet the necessary cost-effective requirements to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The addition of Fabrazyme and Replagal is contingent on the manufacturers agreeing to a $10 million expenditure cap per annum. Fabrazyme and Replagal will be made available to those deemed eligible under treatment guidelines currently being finalised.

This funding includes $1.3 million over four years for the Department of Health and Ageing to administer this measure.

Lifeline — assistance

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $10 million in 2003-04 to Lifeline to assist with the refurbishment and upgrade of its telephone and computer systems.

Lifeline is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing quality counselling services, through telephone and other communication technologies, to support people in need. Funding to upgrade the telephone and computer systems will assist with the effective delivery of Lifeline’s 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-per-week service.

Medical Indemnity — 2005 policy review working party

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 0.1 1.2 - -

The Government will provide $1.2 million over two years to convene a new working group in mid-2005 to consider the effectiveness of measures announced by the Government following the work of the Medical Indemnity Policy Review Panel. This working group will include senior medical representatives.

Further information can be found in the press release of 17 December 2003 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer.

Medical Indemnity — additional assistance for rural procedural GPs

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will fund, through medical indemnity insurers, 75 per cent of the difference between the medical indemnity insurance premiums of procedural GPs in rural areas and those for non-procedural GPs in similar circumstances.

The cost of this measure is $17.5 million over five years (including $1.9 million in 2003-04) which will be fully absorbed from within the existing resourcing of the Health and Ageing portfolio.

Further information can be found in the press release of 17 December 2003 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer.

Medical Indemnity — High Cost Claims Scheme threshold reduction

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 11.1 11.7 12.3 12.9

The Government will further lower the threshold of the High Cost Claims Scheme from $500,000 to $300,000, at a cost of $47.9 million over four years. Under this scheme, the Government will fund 50 per cent of medical indemnity insurance claims over this threshold up to the limit of the contract of insurance. This applies to claims notified on or after 1 January 2004. This will assist doctors in private practice by reducing pressure on medical indemnity insurance premiums.

Further information can be found in the press release of 17 December 2003 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer.

Medical Indemnity — Premium Support Scheme

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 27.4 29.6 32.2 34.9

The Government will provide $146 million over five years (including $22 million in 2003-04) to implement a new Premium Support Scheme (PSS) for doctors. The PSS replaces and expands on the existing Medical Indemnity Subsidy Scheme.

Under the PSS, the Government will provide premium support directly through medical indemnity insurers to ensure that all doctors are financially supported for 80 per cent of that amount of their medical indemnity insurance premium that exceeds 7.5 per cent of their gross private medical income.

The Government will ensure that no doctor who is already receiving a subsidy under the Medical Indemnity Subsidy Scheme is worse off under the PSS.

Further information can be found in the press release of 17  December 2003 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer.

Medical Indemnity — run-off reinsurance vehicle

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing * * * *

The Government will establish a run-off reinsurance vehicle, the Run-Off Cover Scheme, to assume liability for any claims against retired doctors aged 65 or over, doctors on maternity leave, doctors who are disabled, the estates of deceased doctors and doctors who have been permanently out of the medical workforce for more than three years. This will provide doctors with full insurance cover while they are out of the medical workforce. The costs of the Run-Off Cover Scheme are to be established as further details of the Scheme’s accounting and likely liabilities are determined.

The costs of assuming this liability will be funded via a charge on medical indemnity insurers.

Further information can be found in the press release of 17 December 2003 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer.

Medical research infrastructure — injection of funds

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $31.2 million in 2003-04 to fund 14 important medical research infrastructure projects.

The projects are as follows:

  • $5 million towards the cost of constructing an independent building that will act as central headquarters for the Hunter Medical Research Institute;
  • $5 million towards the construction of a new building for expanded research capacity for the Millennium Institute, Sydney;
  • $5 million towards the construction of a new building for expanded research capacity for the Garvan Institute, Sydney;
  • $5 million towards a proteomics (protein sample analysis) facility for the Queensland Institute of Medical Research;
  • $2.5 million towards a paediatric magnetic resonance imaging machine and robotic equipment for human genome research for the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute;
  • $2 million towards an IT hardware upgrade to enhance research and diagnosis ability for the Brain Research Institute;
  • $2 million towards the construction of a new building for expanded research capacity for the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research;
  • $1.415 million towards a laser scanning cytometer, delta vision microscope and high speed sorter for the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology;
  • $1 million towards the construction of animal facilities for the Howard Florey Institute, Melbourne;
  • $1 million towards enhanced research capacity for the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne;
  • $1 million towards a new building for the Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research;
  • $125,000 for a gait analysis module for balance assessment and broadband internet access for staff for the National Ageing Research Institute;
  • $100,000 towards an ultrasound machine for the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia; and
  • $100,000 towards fit-out for the new research, education, training and administration centre for the Wesley Research Institute.

This additional funding augments the Government’s response to the Investment Review of Health and Medical Research, and recognises the significant role of independent medical research institutes in undertaking and commercialising health and medical research.

Medicare — continued higher rebate for Other Medical Practitioners in rural areas

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Veterans’ Affairs - - - -
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -
Total - - - -

The Government will continue paying higher Medicare rebates to patients treated by Other Medical Practitioners in rural areas, at a cost of $118.4 million over four years. This programme complements initiatives in the Rural Health Strategy and the MedicarePlus package.

Other Medical Practitioners (whose qualifications do not allow them to achieve vocational recognition as GPs) attract a lower Medicare rebate for consultations. In rural areas where access to GPs is more restricted, the Government has introduced higher patient rebates for Other Medical Practitioners to encourage them to work in areas of workforce shortage.

This measure will involve funding of $28.1 million in 2004-05, $29.4 million in 2005-06, $30.0 million in 2006-07, and $30.9 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding is already included in the forward estimates.

MedicarePlus — extended safety net for major out-of-pocket medical costs outside hospital

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 48.3 52.8 60.0 67.2

The Government will provide a further $241.3 million over five years (including $12.9 million in 2003-04) to extend the new national Medicare safety net, which will cover 80 per cent of out-of-hospital out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Benefits Schedule items over set thresholds. This is in addition to the $266.3 million over four years already included in the forward estimates for the safety net announced in A Fairer Medicare and extended in MedicarePlus.

Under this measure the safety net will cover 80 per cent of out-of-pocket costs for medical services provided out of hospital to concession card holders and families receiving the Family Tax Benefit (A) once an annual threshold of $300 in a calendar year is reached. For all other individuals and families, the safety net will be available after an annual threshold of $700 of Medicare Benefits Schedule out-of-pocket costs per calendar year is reached.

Further information can be found in the press release of 10 March 2004 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

MedicarePlus — increased incentives for GPs who bulk bill in regional, rural and remote Australia or Tasmania

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 39.0 40.5 41.9 43.5

The Government will provide a further $174.7 million over five years (including $9.8 million in 2003-04) to increase to $7.50 the incentive for GPs to bulk-bill concession card holders and children aged under 16 in regional, rural and remote Australia and all of Tasmania.

This is in addition to the $956.7 million over four years announced in MedicarePlus by the Prime Minister on 18 November 2003, which provided a payment of an additional $5 for every bulk-billed service provided to concession card holders and children aged under 16.

Further information can be found in the press release of 10 March 2004 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

MedicarePlus — national health information network

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Veterans’ Affairs - - - -
Department of Health and Ageing -1.8 -4.4 -4.8 -4.1
Total -1.8 -4.4 -4.8 -4.1

The Government will integrate the MediConnect and HealthConnect programmes to develop a secure national health information network. Along with anticipated improvements to patient care, the integration will result in administrative savings of $15.1 million over four years.

Further information can be found in the press release of 10 March 2004 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

MedicarePlus — new Medicare Benefits Schedule items for services of certain health professionals and dentists

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 41.1 39.4 40.6 41.3

The Government will provide $162.6 million over four years to introduce two new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items from 1 July 2004 that can be claimed for certain services.

One MBS item will cover certain health services, such as physiotherapy, psychiatry and optometry, provided ‘for and on behalf of the GP’ to patients with chronic conditions and complex care needs who are being managed under a Multidisciplinary Care Plan through the Enhanced Primary Care programme. Each year, up to five such consultations will qualify for the MBS rebate.

A separate MBS item will be available for up to three dental consultations each year where dental problems are significantly exacerbating chronic medical conditions being treated under a Multidisciplinary Care Plan.

Further information can be found in the press release of 10 March 2004 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Menzies Foundation — injection of funds

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $3 million in 2003-04 to the Menzies Foundation to support innovative health research. The Menzies Foundation was established in 1979 and promotes excellence in health research and education.

National Blood Authority — funding for contract negotiation

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
National Blood Authority 1.0 - - -

The Government will provide additional funding of $1 million in 2004-05 to the National Blood Authority to enable it to negotiate a new agreement with CSL Limited for the fractionation of blood plasma.

The States will contribute $0.6 million in 2004-05 in line with cost sharing arrangements in place under the National Blood Agreement.

National Blood Authority — safer haemoglobin levels for blood donors

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
National Blood Authority 2.3 - - -

The Government will provide $5.1 million over two years (including $2.8 million in 2003-04) to the National Blood Authority to fund the Australian Red Cross Blood Service for the implementation of safer standards for blood donor haemoglobin thresholds, as prescribed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Commencing in January 2004 this measure allows for staff training and education, donor counselling and the introduction of strategies for the recruitment and processing of a higher number of donors. This should address the expected initial reduction in suitable donors resulting from the increased haemoglobin thresholds.

The States will contribute $3 million over two years in line with cost sharing arrangements in place under the National Blood Agreement.

National Cord Blood Collection Network

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $9.8 million over four years to continue the National Cord Blood Collection Network.

The Network aims to collect and store 22,000 units of cord blood, including 2,000 units of cord blood from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Cord blood is an alternative to bone marrow transplantation in treating leukaemia and cancer and does not have the compatibility problems of bone marrow when matching to a recipient.

This measure will involve funding of $2.4 million in 2004-05, $2.4 million in 2005-06, $2.5 million in 2006-07 and $2.5 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding is already included in the forward estimates.

National Diabetes Services Scheme — subsidy of insulin infusion pump consumables

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 2.0 3.3 4.4 5.6

The Government will provide $15.3 million over four years to enable Australians with diabetes to access new generation insulin infusion pump consumables through the National Diabetes Services Scheme.

Infusion pump treatment dramatically improves the health and quality of life for people with hard-to-manage diabetes and minimises long-term health complications. By 2007-08, this measure will be accessed by more than 3,000 Australians with diabetes and will target persons up to and including 18 years of age, pregnant women and those suffering from brittle diabetes.

National Illicit Drug Strategy — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - 2.8 2.8 2.9
Australian Institute of Criminology - - - 1.0
Department of Family and Community Services - - - -
Australian Crime Commission - - - -
Australian Federal Police - - - -
Attorney-General’s Department - - - -
Total - 2.8 2.8 3.9

The Government will provide $161.7 million over four years to continue a range of measures aimed at addressing illicit drug use under the National Illicit Drug Strategy (NIDS).

The majority of this funding will support initiatives in the Department of Health and Ageing and the Attorney General’s portfolio until 2007-08. The Government will also continue funding for four years for the Strengthening and Supporting Families Coping with Illicit Drug Use Programme in the Department of Family and Community Services. Provision of $152.2 million over four years is already included in the forward estimates.

Additional funding of $9.4 million over four years will also enable three previously terminating programmes to continue until 2007-08. These are the Continued Drug Use Monitoring initiative in the Australian Institute of Criminology, and the National Comorbidity initiative and the Psychostimulants initiative in the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure builds on the Government’s previous commitments under NIDS and will provide funding certainty for recipients over the next four years.

See also the related expense measure titled National School Drug Education Strategy - continuation in the Education, Science and Training portfolio.

National Institute of Clinical Studies

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $22.7 million over four years to continue to fund the National Institute of Clinical Studies.

The Institute develops and promotes best clinical practice throughout the public and private health sectors.

The measure comprises two complementary areas: the National Institute of Clinical Studies, which is the national authority on clinical improvement; and the Australian-based Cochrane Collaboration activities, which provide the evidence base to support improvements in clinical practice.

This measure will involve funding of $5.5 million in 2004-05, $5.6 million in 2005-06, $5.7 million in 2006-07, and $5.8 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding is already included in the forward estimates.

National Strategy for an Ageing Australia — continuation

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $6.4 million over four years to continue its support for the National Strategy for an Ageing Australia.

The National Strategy for an Ageing Australia was developed following the International Year of Older Persons in 1999. It has been focused on building community awareness and understanding of the ageing of the population, and supporting the adaptation of the Australian community to that ageing process.

This measure will involve funding of $1.6 million in each year from 2004-05 to 2007-08. Provision for this funding is already included in the forward estimates.

Parental access to information

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 1.1 0.8 0.8 0.8

The Government will provide $3.9 million over four years (including $0.3 million capital funding) to provide parents and legal guardians with access to information held by the Health Insurance Commission about their children under the age of sixteen years.

Access to the information will not be provided where written evidence indicates that a child is deemed at risk by a child protection agency or an Australian court.

Pharmaceutical benefits — improved entitlement monitoring

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 4.7 -0.9 -3.7 -3.7

The Government will save an additional $3.5 million over four years by continuing to require pharmacists to monitor entitlement to pharmaceutical benefits by checking Medicare cards.

This initiative assists in ensuring that pharmaceutical benefits are not provided inappropriately, and has resulted in a reduction in the number of payments made in error for prescriptions for persons not eligible for a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidy. It also improves the ability of the Health Insurance Commission to identify individuals using excessive quantities of medicines. Gross savings are expected to be $14.8 million over four years higher than previous forward estimates.

Offsetting these savings, the Government will provide funding of $8.5 million in 2004-05 and $2.8 million in 2005-06 to continue paying pharmacists to check patients’ Medicare cards.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee — enhancing evaluation expertise

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 1.5 1.9 2.3 2.9

The Government will provide $8.5 million over four years to ensure that submissions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for listing of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), including submissions for new drugs, are evaluated in a timely manner. This measure will contribute to ensuring the community does not experience delays in access to new medicines.

Preventative health — Bowel Cancer Screening Programme

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $7.4 million over four years to continue the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. The programme focuses on the efficacy of the screening protocols to validate reductions in mortality, demonstrate cost effectiveness of screening and explore issues around practical implementation.

This measure will involve funding of $1.8 million in 2004-05, $1.9 million in 2005-06, $1.9 million in 2006-07 and $1.9 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Preventative health — extension of the Investment in Preventative Health initiatives

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will continue a range of initiatives announced in the 2002-03 Budget measure Investment in Preventative Health. This will involve funding of $1 million in 2004-05 and $1.1 million in 2005-06 to align the men’s health component with the remainder of the initiatives and funding of $24.7 million in 2006-07 and $25.2 million in 2007-08 to extend the initiatives for a further two years. This will provide funding certainty for recipients over the next four years.

The initiatives include a range of nationally significant public health programmes such as immunisation programmes for the elderly and indigenous communities, the National Cancer Council Initiative, tobacco harm minimisation, men’s health, environmental health, the National Public Health Information Development Plan and the HealthInsite website.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Preventative health — falls prevention in older people

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $9.6 million over four years to continue this programme aimed at preventing falls in older Australians.

The programme provides for the continuation of interventions; demonstration projects seeking to minimise the risk of injury; research into identifying risk factors and cost-benefit analyses; and the development of workforce education in community and acute care settings.

This measure will involve funding of $2.3 million in 2004-05, $2.4 million in 2005-06, $2.4 million in 2006-07 and $2.5 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates. This measure will conclude in 2007-08.

Preventative health — National Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $4.2 million over four years to continue the National Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy. This funding will strengthen strategic partnerships and allow further dissemination of material to reduce the incidence of alcohol-related harm.

This measure will involve funding of $1 million in 2004-05, $1 million in 2005-06, $1.1 million in 2006-07 and $1.1 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Private health insurance — e-commerce partnerships

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 1.9 9.1 11.1 10.9

The Government will provide $48.2 million (including $15.3 million capital funding) over four years to develop the Electronic Claim Lodgement and Information Processing System Environment, an information technology system that will provide secure electronic links between health funds, hospitals and doctors, to streamline the billing process and supply cost information to private health insurance patients.

The new processes will improve the quality of data and reduce paperwork, and are expected to lead to savings in administrative costs for health funds. These savings should in turn be reflected in lower growth in premiums and lower costs than otherwise of the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate.

Private health insurance — terminate promotion of Simplified Billing for No or Known Gaps

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing -4.4 -4.5 -4.5 -4.6

This initiative was introduced in the 2000-01 Budget to promote the take-up of simplified billing throughout the private health industry. The programme has met its objectives and funding is no longer required.

Provision for continued funding had been previously included in the forward estimates.

Private Health Insurance Ombudsman — increased funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $0.2 million in 2004-05 to enable the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman to undertake additional activities required under the Health Legislation Amendment (Private Health Insurance Reform) Act 2004. In particular, the Ombudsman is now required to publish an annual State of the Health Funds report and has been given increased powers to investigate complaints and resolve disputes.

The cost of this measure is being fully absorbed from within the existing resourcing of the Health and Ageing portfolio.

Regional Health Service Centres — extension of funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $12.1 million in 2007-08 to extend the Regional Health Service Centres programme for a further year.

This programme provides funding to 30 Regional Health Service Centres to enable the continued delivery of health care services, aged care services and community services that would not otherwise be viable in small rural and regional communities of less than 5,000 people. The continuation of funding to 2007-08 will align the funding and planned reviews of this programme with the Rural Health Strategy. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Regional Medical Schools — extension of funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $2.8 million in 2007-08 to extend the Regional Medical Schools Programme for a further year. This programme provides funding for the Greater Murray Clinical School in Wagga Wagga.

The continuation of funding to 2007-08 will align the funding and planned reviews of this programme and the Rural Health Strategy. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Rural Health Strategy — continued funding

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 0.2 - - -0.2

The Government will provide $830.2 million over four years to continue funding for a range of programmes that address the health needs of people in rural and remote areas of Australia.

The Rural Health Strategy, formerly known as the Regional Health Strategy, encompasses 12 programmes that aim to address gaps in health services, improve access to health services and introduce long-term measures to increase the rural health workforce. The Strategy also includes incentives to medical graduates to undertake their vocational training in rural Australia, thus increasing the number of qualified medical practitioners in the rural health workforce.

The Strategy will be refined to include an amalgamation of programmes that deliver allied health services, and an amalgamation of programmes that support specialists providing outreach services. Health services to people with private health insurance in rural Australia will also be refocused, providing services such as step-down care and rehabilitation for people leaving hospital, palliative care and ancillary services.

The Strategy involves funding of $193.6 million in 2004-05, $202.6 million in 2005-06, $210.4 million in 2006-07 and $223.5 million in 2007-08. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates. The small variations from the forward estimates shown above in 2004-05 and 2007-08 are due to modest reprioritisations involving the HECS Reimbursement Scheme, the Rural Primary Health Programme, the Rural Specialist Support Scheme and a communication strategy.

Rural Medical Students — extension of assistance

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $1.2 million in 2007-08 to extend the Assisting Rural Medical Students Through Their Studies Programme for a further year. This programme provides financial assistance to undergraduate medical students from a rural background, granting up to $10,000 per annum to eligible students to assist with living expenses.

The continuation of funding to 2007-08 will align the funding and planned reviews of this programme and the Rural Health Strategy. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Therapeutic Products — new policy advising role

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 1.2 1.2 - -

The Government will provide $2.4 million over two years to establish a therapeutic products policy advisory role within the Department of Health and Ageing, separate from the Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Products Agency.

This measure will allow the Department of Health and Ageing to provide advice to the Government on public health policy associated with therapeutic goods in Australia. The Therapeutic Goods Administration, which currently operates within the Department of Health and Ageing and provides that advice, will become part of a separate entity, the Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Products Agency, from 1 July 2005.

Vietnam Veterans’ Children’s Support Programme

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Veterans’ Affairs 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Department of Health and Ageing -0.8 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8
Total -0.6 -0.6 -0.6 -0.6

The Government will continue to offer financial assistance for the children of Vietnam veterans who suffer from spina bifida manifesta, cleft lip/palate, acute myeloid leukemia and adrenal gland cancer. This assistance will help meet costs of medical treatment and medically necessary aids and appliances.

This is a cross portfolio measure involving the transfer of responsibility for the programme from the Department of Health and Ageing to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This will result in a reduction in administrative costs of $2.1 million over four years.

Women’s Health — Australian Longitudinal Study

Expense ($m)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Department of Health and Ageing 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8

The Government will provide an additional $3.2 million over four years for the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health.

The programme was established in 1995 and is projected to run for 20 years to fulfil its value as a database tracking individuals’ experiences of disease and service use over time. This programme examines the social, behavioural and economic determinants of women’s health and their relationship to health outcomes and the use of health and related services at key points in women’s lives.

The Department of Health and Ageing has been funding the study since 1998. This measure will allow increases in the cost and scope of the study to be met.


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