Australian Government, 2006–07 Budget

Health and Ageing

COAG Mental Health

The Australian Government will provide $1.9 billion over five years for substantial reform of the mental health system in Australia as part of the Council of Australian Governments' mental health initiative.

This significant Australian Government commitment provides additional investment in clinical and health services as well as non-clinical and respite services for people with mental illness and their families. The package will also strengthen the mental health workforce and improve community awareness of the link between illicit drugs and mental illness.

The package comprehensively addresses current gaps in services for which the Australian Government has responsibility, particularly access to clinical and primary care services for people with mental illness. In this area, the Australian Government will restructure the Medicare Benefits Schedule to improve early detection treatment and management of mental illness through increased access to general practitioners, psychiatrists, and psychologists. Additionally, the Australian Government will provide funding to general practitioners and psychiatrists to employ mental health nurses in their practices to enable a team-based approach to managing people with mental illness, as well as providing more funding for mental health nurses and allied health services in rural and remote areas.

Recognising the link between illicit drug use and mental illness, drug and alcohol treatment services will be provided with funding to improve services for people with both mental illness and a substance abuse problem.

New non-clinical services will also be provided through the non-government sector including personal helpers and mentors as well as a range of programmes that will improve the economic and social participation of people suffering from mental illness. With significant increases in respite services for carers and new early intervention programmes for young people, this represents a substantial increase in services available in the community.

Mental health workforce issues are also being addressed in the package, with increased funding for mental health nursing and psychology places, as well as initiatives to improve the capacity of the Indigenous health workforce to meet the demand for services in Indigenous communities.

Table 9: COAG Mental Health
  2006-07
$m
2007-08
$m
2008-09
$m
2009-10
$m
Total
$m
REVENUE MEASURES          
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TRAINING          
Department of Education, Science and Training          
COAG Mental Health          
- additional education places, scholarships and clinical training in mental health - - 0.1 0.3 0.4
Sub Total - - 0.1 0.3 0.4
Total Revenue measures - - 0.1 0.3 0.4
EXPENSE MEASURES          
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TRAINING          
COAG Mental Health          
- helping young people stay in education 6.6 12.9 13.1 13.4 45.9
- additional education places, scholarships and clinical training in mental health 6.5 12.0 15.2 17.7 51.4
Sub Total 13.1 24.9 28.3 31.0 97.3
EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS          
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations          
COAG Mental Health          
- helping people with a mental illness enter and remain in employment 6.7 8.3 9.3 7.3 31.6
Sub Total 6.7 8.3 9.3 7.3 31.6
FAMILIES, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS          
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs          
COAG Mental Health          
- new personal helpers and mentors 5.1 37.6 73.9 83.6 200.2
- more respite care places to help families and carers 13.4 44.1 63.5 52.1 173.0
- community based programmes to help families coping with mental illness 3.2 11.2 11.1 11.1 36.6
Sub Total 21.7 92.8 148.5 146.8 409.8
HEALTH AND AGEING          
Department of Health and Ageing          
COAG Mental Health          
- better access to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule 49.8 92.0 108.6 130.2 380.5
- new funding for mental health nurses 1.4 23.9 37.7 54.6 117.6
- improved services for people with drug and alcohol problems and mental illness 3.2 19.4 23.7 24.4 70.7
- expanding suicide prevention programmes 9.6 10.9 12.3 13.7 46.5
- funding for telephone counselling, self help and web-based support programmes 6.6 11.9 12.3 12.8 43.7
- mental health services in rural and remote areas 4.9 9.4 10.7 12.4 37.4
- support for day-to-day living in the community 5.0 9.6 10.0 10.3 35.0
- additional education places, scholarships and clinical training in mental health 2.9 6.3 8.3 8.6 26.1
- new early intervention services for parents, children and young people 1.6 2.5 5.7 7.0 16.8
COAG Mental Health          
- alerting the community to links between illicit drugs and mental illness 2.7 8.9 9.0 0.7 21.3
- improving the capacity of health workers in Indigenous communities 2.0 5.8 4.5 4.4 16.7
- mental health in tertiary curricula 1.1 1.2 1.1 1.1 4.5
- increased funding for the Mental Health Council of Australia 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.8
Medicare Australia          
COAG Mental Health          
- better access to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule 0.4 .. .. .. 0.3
- new funding for mental health nurses 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.8
Sub Total 91.7 202.1 244.3 280.6 818.7
Total Expense measures 133.1 328.2 430.3 465.7 1,357.4
CAPITAL MEASURES          
EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS          
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations          
COAG Mental Health          
- helping people with a mental illness enter and remain in employment 0.2 - - - 0.2
Sub Total 0.2 - - - 0.2
HEALTH AND AGEING          
Department of Health and Ageing          
COAG Mental Health          
- better access to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule 0.9 - - - 0.9
- new funding for mental health nurses 0.4 - - - 0.4
- improved services for people with drug and alcohol problems and mental illness 0.4 - - - 0.4
- expanding suicide prevention programmes 0.7 - - - 0.7
- funding for telephone counselling, self help and web-based support programmes 0.4 - - - 0.4
- mental health services in rural and remote areas 0.4 - - - 0.4
- support for day-to-day living in the community 0.4 - - - 0.4
- additional education places, scholarships and clinical training in mental health 0.3 - - - 0.3
- new early intervention services for parents, children and young people 0.3 - - - 0.3
- alerting the community to links between illicit drugs and mental illness 0.3 - - - 0.3
- improving the capacity of health workers in Indigenous communities 0.1 - - - 0.1
- mental health in tertiary curricula 0.2 - - - 0.2
Medicare Australia          
COAG Mental Health          
- better access to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule 0.2 - - - 0.2
Sub Total 4.9 - - - 4.9
Total Capital measures 5.1 - - - 5.1
SUMMARY OF EXPENDITURE          
Total expense measures 133.1 328.2 430.3 465.7 1,357.4
Total capital measures 5.1 - - - 5.1
Total expenditure 138.3 328.2 430.3 465.7 1,362.5
Total revenue measures - .. 0.1 0.3 0.4
Net additional expenditure 138.3 328.2 430.2 465.5 1,362.2
COAG Mental Health — better access to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 49.8 92.0 108.6 130.2
Medicare Australia 0.4 .. .. ..
Total 50.2 91.9 108.5 130.1
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.9 - - -
Medicare Australia 0.2 - - -
Total 1.1 - - -

The Government will provide $538.0 million over five years (including $156.1 million in 2010-11) to improve early detection, treatment and management of mental illness in the community through increased access to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners (GPs) and encouraging health professionals to work together. Reforms will be made to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to:

  • Allow private psychiatrists to see more new patients and refer on those patients who could be more effectively treated by appropriately trained psychologists and GPs;
  • Encourage more GPs to participate in early intervention, assessment and management of people with a mental illness; and
  • Increase access to appropriately trained psychologists and allied health professionals on referral from a GP with appropriate training.

Training will also be provided for the primary care workforce to help improve recognition and treatment of mental illness. This measure complements the budget measure COAG Mental Health — mental health services in rural and remote areas.

Funding will be provided to Medicare Australia to process claims. This measure includes $0.9 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — new personal helpers and mentors
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 5.1 37.6 73.9 83.6

The Government will provide $284.8 million over five years (including $84.6 million in 2010-11) to engage 900 personal helpers and mentors to assist people with a mental illness who are living in the community to better manage their daily activities. People with a severe mental illness will be assisted in accessing the range of treatment, income support, employment and accommodation services they need. Funding will be provided to the non-government sector to provide these services.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — more respite care places to help families and carers
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 13.4 44.1 63.5 52.1

The Government will provide $224.7 million over five years (including $51.7 million in 2010-11) to enhance respite care. The funding will provide approximately 650 new respite care places to help families and carers of people with mental illness or an intellectual disability.

This measure will provide overnight respite and day respite services for up to 15,000 families a year. Priority access to these places will be given to elderly parents who live with and care for a son or daughter with a severe mental illness or an intellectual disability. The additional places will be provided by the non-government sector.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — new funding for mental health nurses
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.4 23.9 37.7 54.6
Medicare Australia 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2
Total 1.6 24.0 37.9 54.9
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.4 - - -

The Government will provide $191.6 million over five years (including $72.7 million in 2010-11) to assist people with severe mental illness to receive better coordinated treatment and care. Funding will be provided for mental health nurses in private psychiatry practice, general practice and other appropriate organisations including Indigenous health services. These mental health nurses will work closely with the patient's psychiatrist or general practitioner and will provide services such as home visits, medication monitoring and management, and improving links to other health professionals. This measure includes $0.4 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — improved services for people with drug and alcohol problems and mental illness
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 3.2 19.4 23.7 24.4
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.4 - - -

The Government will provide $73.9 million over five years (including $2.8 million in 2010-11) to improve services for people with drug and alcohol problems who also experience mental illness.

The funding will be provided to the non-government sector to provide extra training for the drug and alcohol workforce to enable them to better assist clients who also have mental health problems. The funding will also be used to identify and implement best practice models for intervention for clients with substance use and mental health co-morbidities. This measure includes $0.4 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — expanding suicide prevention programmes
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 9.6 10.9 12.3 13.7
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.7 - - -

The Government will provide $62.4 million over five years (including $15.2 million in 2010-11) to expand and enhance current suicide prevention efforts. Funding will be provided under the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for national and community-based projects. This funding will also allow for further national research and development to increase the understanding of suicide and its prevention. This measure includes $0.7 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — helping young people stay in education
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Education, Science and Training 6.6 12.9 13.1 13.4

The Government will provide $59.5 million over five years (including $13.6 million in 2010-11) to help approximately 6000 young people a year experiencing mental health problems who are at risk of dropping out of school. This measure increases the capacity of the existing Youth Pathways programme, and provides one-on-one assistance to identify services and professional support to help individual young people with their specific needs. Through this initiative young people will be linked into appropriate services, which may include counselling and support to find housing or remain at home.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — funding for telephone counselling, self-help and web-based support programmes
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 6.6 11.9 12.3 12.8
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.4 - - -

The Government will provide $56.9 million over five years (including $12.9 million in 2010-11) for increased telephone and web-based counselling services and self-help resources targeting individuals with common mental illnesses. Non-government organisations such as Kids Help Line and Lifeline Australia will be funded to provide these services. This measure includes $0.4 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — mental health services in rural and remote areas
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 4.9 9.4 10.7 12.4
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.4 - - -

The Government will provide $51.7 million over five years (including $13.9 million in 2010-11) to improve access to mental health services for people in rural and remote areas. Funding will be provided to increase access to treatment services provided by workers such as psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses in rural and remote areas. This measure complements the Budget measure COAG Mental Health — better access to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule. This measure includes $0.4 million in capital funding for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — support for day-to-day living in the community
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 5.0 9.6 10.0 10.3
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.4 - - -

The Government will provide $46.0 million over five years (including $10.6 million in 2010-2011) for approximately 7,000 additional places in programmes designed to assist people with severe mental illness. These programmes will provide people with access to structured activities such as cooking, shopping and social outings, helping to improve their social participation by providing independent living skills and social rehabilitation activities. This measure includes $0.4 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — community based programmes to help families coping with mental illness
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 3.2 11.2 11.1 11.1

The Government will provide $45.2 million over five years (including $8.6 million in 2010-11) to fund local, community-based projects that support families, children and young people affected by mental illness.

This measure will support projects targeted at prevention and early intervention, with a particular focus on Indigenous families and those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. Non-government sector and community-based organisations will be able to apply for project funding.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — helping people with a mental illness enter and remain in employment
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 6.7 8.3 9.3 7.3
Related capital ($m)
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.2 - - -

The Government will provide $39.8 million over five years (including $8.0 million in 2010-11) to help people with a mental illness enter and remain in employment.

This funding will provide 2,500 additional places in the Personal Support Programme to help people with a mental illness who are not yet ready to benefit from the Job Network. The funding will also provide more support for people with mental illness who are at risk of losing or leaving their jobs because of their condition.

In addition, funds will be available for projects to evaluate the most effective ways of providing employment assistance for people with mental illness. The online information and advice service will be expanded to include information on effective employment assistance for employers, service providers and jobseekers.

This measure includes $0.2 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for computer system enhancements.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — additional education places, scholarships and clinical training in mental health
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Education, Science and Training 6.5 12.0 15.2 17.7
Department of Health and Ageing 2.9 6.3 8.3 8.6
Total 9.4 18.3 23.5 26.2
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.3 - - -
Related revenue ($m)        
Department of Education, Science and Training - .. 0.1 0.3

The Government will provide $103.5 million over five years (including $26.2 million in 2010-11) to increase the supply and quality of the mental health workforce. The number of tertiary sector places in mental health nursing will increase by 420 and in post-graduate psychology by 200 each year, growing to 1,148 nursing places by 2010 and 400 post-graduate psychology places by 2008. It will also provide 25 full-time and 50 part-time post-graduate scholarships to nurses and psychologists. This measure includes $0.3 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

Amounts loaned under the Higher Education Loans Programme (HELP) for students taking up these places are treated as financial assets and therefore do not impact on the fiscal balance. Payments by students of the indexation component of their HELP loan are treated as interest revenue. These payments will impact on the fiscal balance from 2007-08. The additional public debt interest incurred by the Commonwealth in financing the loans is separately accounted for in the budget papers.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — new early intervention services for parents, children and young people
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.6 2.5 5.7 7.0
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.3 - - -

The Government will provide $28.1 million over five years (including $11.0 million in 2010-11) to assist parents and schools to better identify children at risk of mental illness and to offer early referral for appropriate treatment. This funding will provide resources, information and training for parents and schools to promote the availability of new mental health services for children and young people with complex mental health conditions, including those due to substance abuse. This measure will help to prevent the progression of early symptoms of mental illness into more serious disorders. This measure includes $0.3 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — alerting the community to links between illicit drugs and mental illness
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.7 8.9 9.0 0.7
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.3 - - -

The Government will provide $21.6 million over four years to help people better understand the links between drug use and the development of mental illness. This measure will involve public information and education activities targeting the general population to promote a better understanding of the link between illicit drugs and mental illness to prevent the onset of drug-induced mental illness. This measure includes $0.3 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — improving the capacity of health workers in Indigenous communities
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.0 5.8 4.5 4.4
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.1 - - -

The Government will provide $20.8 million over five years (including $3.9 million in 2010-11) to improve the capacity of the Indigenous mental health workforce. This will be achieved by providing five new scholarships each year for Indigenous students undertaking studies in a mental health discipline under the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme, as well as creating 10 additional mental health worker positions in Indigenous communities. Additionally, a range of mental health training programmes and resources will be provided for the existing Indigenous health workforce to enable them to better identify mental illness and assist people to access appropriate treatment. This measure includes $0.1 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — mental health in tertiary curricula
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.1 1.2 1.1 1.1
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.2 - - -

The Government will provide $5.6 million over five years (including $1.0 million in 2010-11) to increase the mental health content in tertiary curricula. This measure will develop mental health training modules for registered nurses, including the culturally appropriate management of Indigenous patients, and provide students with clinical training in multi-disciplinary teams that include allied health, medical and nursing students. This measure includes $0.2 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for building fit-out costs for the Department of Health and Ageing.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

COAG Mental Health — increased funding for the Mental Health Council of Australia
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2

The Government will provide an additional $1.0 million over five years (including $0.2 million in 2010-11) to increase funding for the Mental Health Council of Australia (the Council). This will increase the secretariat funding for the Council to assist it to respond to an increased focus on mental health issues in the broader community.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, announced on 5 April 2006. Further information can be found in the press release issued by the Prime Minister.

Other measures in the Health and Ageing portfolio

Adult Stem Cell Research Centre — contribution
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0

The Government will provide $20.0 million over four years to fund the operational costs of the National Adult Stem Cell Research Centre (the Centre). The Centre brings together stem cell researchers from around Australia to conduct research using adult stem cells. Research involving adult stem cells has great potential to provide benefits in an increasing number of fields in health and medicine. The Centre will have a particular focus on applying adult stem cell research to brain diseases such as Parkinson's disease.

See also the related expense measure Medical research facilities — grants for development and expansion in the Health and Ageing portfolio.

Further information can be found in the press release of 2 May 2006 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Aged care — Community Visitors Scheme additional funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.3 1.6 1.8 -

The Government will provide $4.7 million over three years to expand the reach of the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) to cover all residential aged care homes. The funding will also ensure ongoing viability and sustainability of the scheme by increasing the overall rate of funding provided to support existing volunteers who visit aged care homes. This measure builds on existing funding of $27.9 million over four years already allocated to the Scheme.

The provision of funding to 2008-09 will align the funding and planned review of this programme with that of the CVS funded under the 2005-06 Budget measure Ensuring Quality Care for Older Australians — maintain funding.

Aged care — continued capital assistance for rural and remote providers
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $134.2 million over four years to continue capital assistance to aged care providers in rural and remote Australia. The funding will facilitate the building, rebuilding, upgrading and extension of residential aged care infrastructure in rural and remote Australia to ensure these facilities conform to building and care standards.

This measure involves funding of $37.5 million in 2006-07, $39.0 million in 2007-08, $28.8 million in 2008-09 and $28.8 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Aged care — encouraging best practice
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 3.2 6.3 5.6 6.4

The Government will provide $21.6 million over four years in competitive financial incentives for residential aged care providers to work with clinical educators, researchers and research institutions to develop and implement best practice in clinical care.

The programme will allow an opportunity for aged care providers to develop and enhance their knowledge and skills, develop national clinical guides and evidence summaries, and support staff to access and use the best available evidence in everyday practice. This will include areas such as clinical assessment, medication management, wound management, infection control and falls prevention and will result in wide dissemination of findings highlighting strategies developed to foster best practice.

Aged Care — increased spot checks of residential aged care homes
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3

The Government will provide $8.6 million over four years to increase the number of unannounced site visits (spot checks) to residential aged care homes undertaken by the Aged Care Standards Accreditation Agency as part of its role in monitoring the homes' compliance with quality care standards. Under this measure each residential aged care home will have at least one unannounced site visit annually. The Aged Care Standards Accreditation Agency will now undertake an average of 1.75 visits per home per year, up from 1.25 visits per home per year previously undertaken.

Further information can be found in the press release of 10 April 2006 issued by the Minister for Ageing.

Aged care — police checks for Community Visitors Scheme volunteers
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 0.6 0.4 0.4 0.4

The Government will provide $1.8 million over four years to meet the costs of mandatory police checks for all volunteer visitors to aged care homes under the Community Visitors Scheme. Mandatory police checks will also be required for all staff in Australian Government subsidised aged care services. Approved providers will now be required under the Aged Care Act 1997 to ensure that all staff employed by them, or engaged through an agency, have been police-checked and assessed as to their suitability to work in aged care.

Further information can be found in the press release of 10 April 2006 issued by the Minister for Ageing.

Aged care and pensions — further harmonisation
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.1 .. .. ..
Department of Health and Ageing -4.8 -15.5 -22.9 -28.8
Total -4.7 -15.5 -22.9 -28.8
Related capital ($m)
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.1 - - -

The Government will bring the treatment of income and assets for aged care purposes into line with their treatment for pension purposes in relation to limits on the gifting of assets and the concessional treatment of complying income streams.

In determining whether a resident may be subject to accommodation payments, any gifts made by a prospective resident totalling more than $10,000 in any financial year, or $30,000 over five years, will be deemed to still be in the possession of the resident for the purposes of the aged care assets test. This will apply to any gifts made by prospective residents from 10 May 2006. For complying income streams, only 50 per cent of the purchase cost of an income stream purchased after 20 September 2004 will qualify for an exemption from the assets test.

As the Aged Care Assets test only applies on entry to an aged care home, existing residents will not be affected while they remain in the same aged care home.

This measure is expected to lead to savings of $73.5 million over four years and will cost $1.8 million over five years (including capital funding of $0.2 million over two years from 2005-06 and $0.1 million in expense funding in 2005-06 for the Department of Veterans' Affairs). This will lead to net savings of $71.7 million over five years.

Aged Care Assessment Programme — continue age related growth indexation
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $20.1 million over four years to continue the age related growth funding for Aged Care Assessment Teams. This will ensure that funding keeps pace with increasing demand for assessment services associated with the ageing of Australia's population.

This measure involves funding of $2.0 million in 2006-07, $3.9 million in 2007-08, $6.1 million in 2008-09 and $8.2 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Aged care income test — additional funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.2

The Government will provide additional funding of $5.2 million over five years (including $0.9 million in 2005-06) to the Department of Health and Ageing to ensure the continuation of high quality income testing of individuals who may face residential aged care fees.

Income testing is undertaken by Centrelink on behalf of the Department of Health and Ageing in order to determine the amount of fees that residents are required to contribute towards the cost of their daily residential care costs. The additional funding will ensure that residents continue to have access to the full range of services provided by Centrelink including access to Financial Information Services.

Aged care income test — continuation of 28 day grace period
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $23.8 million over four years to continue to allow a 28 day period of grace for new residents of aged care facilities before they commence paying the income-tested component of their daily fees. This period of grace allows sufficient time for an income assessment to be finalised for most residents.

This measure involves funding of $5.4 million in 2006-07, $5.8 million in 2007-08, $6.1 million in 2008-09 and $6.5 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Aged Care Nursing Scholarship Programme — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $36.0 million over four years to continue the Aged Care Nursing Scholarship Programme which aims to encourage more people to take up aged care nursing and to improve retention of aged care nurses by enhancing career pathways. This measure provides for up to 250 aged care nursing scholarships (valued at up to $10,000 per annum) each year with preference given to people in rural and regional areas.

This measure will involve funding of $8.7 million in 2006-07, $8.9 million in 2007-08, $9.1 million in 2008-09 and $9.3 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Aged care workers' support — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $30.0 million over four years to continue to provide support for aged care workers. This programme will increase the skills of personal care workers by providing support for training in smaller aged care homes through flexible or distance training programmes.

This measure involves funding of $7.3 million in 2006-07, $7.4 million in 2007-08, $7.6 million in 2008-09 and $7.7 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Arthritis and osteoporosis care — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $14.8 million over four years to continue to fund awareness and educational strategies promoting effective management and self-management of arthritis and osteoporosis. These activities will be supplemented by the development and implementation of clinical guidelines and a national data and monitoring programme.

This measure involves funding of $3.6 million in 2006-07, $3.7 million in 2007-08, $3.7 million in 2008-09 and $3.8 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Australian Childhood Immunisation Register — redevelopment scoping study
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 0.7 0.6 - -

The Government will provide $1.2 million over two years to fund a scoping study to consider the benefits, risks, required functions and costs associated with redeveloping the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) as a whole-of-life immunisation register. This funding will also allow the investigation of alternatives to the current practice of building and maintaining stand-alone population health registers. The review will also look into ways of improving ACIR's capacity to add vaccines that are recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and approved by Government, as well as potentially linking to other existing health registers.

Better Access to Radiation Oncology — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Medicare Australia - - - -
Department of Health and Ageing -15.7 -6.1 9.3 6.5
Total -15.7 -6.1 9.3 6.5

The Government will continue the work of the Better Treatment for Cancer Patients programme, providing $90.3 million over four years to improve access to radiotherapy services for Australians with cancer. This will involve funding of $7.0 million in 2006-07, $19.3 million in 2007-08, $35.3 million in 2008-09 and $28.7 million in 2009-10.

This measure will benefit patients in Darwin for Northern Australian communities and non-metropolitan areas, through expanding the radiation oncology workforce, improving quality systems and expanding capital infrastructure.

Funding of $96.3 million over four years has already been included in the forward estimates. This measure will result in reduced costs, compared with the forward estimates, of $6.0 million over the four years. The figures appearing in the expense table show the impact of re-profiling the forward estimates to reflect the time taken to initiate new capital works.

Cervical screening incentives for general practitioners — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -
Medicare Australia - - - -
Department of Veterans' Affairs - - - -
Total - - - -

The Government will provide $97.2 million over four years (including funding for administering payments through Medicare Australia) to continue incentives for general practitioners to increase rates of participation in the National Cervical Screening Programme. Greater participation in screening will improve the chance of early detection of cervical abnormalities, thereby reducing mortality from cervical cancer.

This measure is targeted at unscreened or under-screened women, including women in rural and remote areas, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It also continues funding for a population-based incentive that rewards general practices reaching an overall screening target.

This measure involves funding of $24.7 million in 2006-07, $23.2 million in 2007-08, $24.4 million in 2008-09 and $24.9 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

COAG Health Services — aligning services in rural and remote areas
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.0 1.7 1.9 2.1

The Government will provide $7.6 million over four years to address the specific health challenges in rural and remote Australia by consolidating and streamlining rural health service delivery programmes in conjunction with the States and Territories.

The Government will work with the State and Territories to ensure that programmes are more focused on the needs of rural and remote communities, with both levels of government to agree on the existing services to be streamlined, funding arrangements, workforce recruitment and retention strategies, and sites for priority development.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Health Services package, announced on 10 February 2006.

See the related expense measures COAG Health Services in the Health and Ageing, Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and Education, Science and Training portfolios.

Further information can be found in the Council of Australian Governments' Meeting Communiqué.

COAG Health Services — establishing the foundations for a national electronic health records system
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 27.9 20.6 21.7 nfp

The Government will provide $70.2 million over three years towards the establishment of core national infrastructure to link information systems across the health sector. The new infrastructure will involve three key elements — an individual health identifier, a health provider identifier and an agreed set of clinical terminologies to standardise communications between clinicians and across the health system. This will help improve safety for patients and efficiency in health care by building capacity to link information across the health sector so that the information needed to make the right clinical decisions is readily available.

This measure is part of the Government's e-health agenda, and will be administered by the National Electronic Health Transition Authority, a joint Australian and States and Territories government body.

Additional funding for this measure for 2009-10 has been included in the Contingency Reserve and will be released once funding shares are agreed with the States and Territories.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Health Services package, announced on 10 February 2006.

See the related expense measures COAG Health Services in the Health and Ageing, Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and Education, Science and Training portfolios.

Further information can be found in the Council of Australian Governments' Meeting Communiqué.

COAG Health Services — improving access to primary care services in rural and remote areas
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 0.7 0.4 0.4 0.3
Medicare Australia 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2
Total 0.8 0.5 0.6 0.5

The Government will allow primary health care services provided in small rural hospitals and health services in areas of workforce shortages to be billed to the Medicare Benefits Schedule through special exemptions. This will improve access to primary care services in rural and remote areas where State-salaried medical officers in a public hospital setting are used to provide general practice services normally provided in the private sector. Funding for this purpose has been included in the Contingency Reserve and will be released when agreements on eligible areas are reached with the States and Territories.

The Government will also provide funding of $3.0 million over five years (including $0.5 million in 2005-06) for the Department of Health and Ageing and Medicare Australia to give effect to this measure.

As part of the proposal, the States and Territories will also be required to commit to maintaining health facilities and providing support for primary health care services.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Health Services package, announced on 10 February 2006.

See the related expense measures COAG Health Services in the Health and Ageing, Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and Education, Science and Training portfolios.

Further information can be found in the Council of Australian Governments' Meeting Communiqué.

COAG Health Services — improving arrangements for aged care assessments and access to Home and Community Care services
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 7.4 6.1 5.2 5.3

The Government will provide funding of $24.2 million over five years (including $0.1 million in 2005-06) to simplify access to aged care services for the elderly through more timely, consistent and quality assessments by Aged Care Assessment teams.

The Australian Government and the States and Territories will work together to ensure consistency and the continuing high quality of assessments for older Australians requiring access to aged care services. This will include improvements to the administration and performance of the Aged Care Assessment Programme. It will also include streamlining eligibility and assessment processes for the Home and Community Care programme to simplify access to care services for the elderly, people with disabilities and people leaving hospital.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Health Services package, announced on 10 February 2006.

See the related expense measures COAG Health Services in the Health and Ageing, Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and Education, Science and Training portfolios.

Further information can be found in the Council of Australian Governments' Meeting Communiqué.

COAG Health Services — improving care for older patients in public hospitals
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 38.5 37.8 37.8 38.1

The Government will provide $152.7 million over five years (including $0.5 million in 2005-06) to improve care for older patients in public hospitals by enhancing in-patient services and the transitions to appropriate long-term care, avoiding re-admission to hospital and improving care services when people stay long term in smaller rural hospitals

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Health Services package, announced on 10 February 2006.

See the related expense measures COAG Health Services in the Health and Ageing, Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and Education, Science and Training portfolios.

Further information can be found in the Council of Australian Governments' Meeting Communiqué.

COAG Health Services — National Health Call Centre Network
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 11.8 21.1 39.1 34.6

The Government will provide $110.9 million over five years (including $4.3 million in 2005-06) towards the establishment of the National Health Call Centre Network (NHCCN), a joint initiative of the Australian Government and the State and Territory Governments. The NHCCN will enable the public to access nurse-based telephone health advice and information, including in relation to the location of relevant health services, around the clock.

The funding will also provide for the creation of a web site to support the call centre by providing relevant health information. Existing statewide health call centres in the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Western Australia are expected to be absorbed into the NHCCN. National coverage will be provided by July 2011.

The NHCCN will provide access to health care advice for all Australians to help improve people's ability to make informed decisions about their health care needs and ease the pressure on general practitioners and hospital emergency rooms.

This measure includes funding of $10.0 million over four years as the Australian Government's contribution towards the delivery of mental health services as an integral element of the NHCCN. This funding will provide for mental health nurses and psychologists to answer mental health related calls.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Health Services package, announced on 10 February 2006.

See also the related expense measures COAG Health Services in the Health and Ageing, Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and Education, Science and Training portfolios.

Further information can be found in the Council of Australian Governments' Meeting Communiqué.

COAG Health Services — promoting good health, prevention and early intervention
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 43.4 66.8 69.9 65.7
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.4 0.6 0.7 0.7
Medicare Australia 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.3
Total 44.1 67.8 71.1 66.7

The Government will provide $250.0 million over five years (including $0.4 million in 2005-06) as its contribution to a shared initiative with State and Territory Governments to promote good health and reduce the burden of chronic disease in Australia.

The package will fund a range of initiatives including health check and multidisciplinary cancer case conferencing Medicare items, counselling and education services on lifestyle modification to be delivered by nurses and allied health workers, and professional development for general practitioners and other health professionals on chronic disease self management for patients.

The funding will also provide for information and training packages for primary care providers to improve the quality of advice regarding lifestyle risks, as well as establishing a health promotion fund to provide ongoing national media campaigns targeting chronic disease risk factors.

Funding is provided to Medicare Australia for administrative costs for the health checks and multidisciplinary cancer case conferencing Medicare items, and to the Department of Veterans' Affairs for the veterans' health scheme payments for these items.

This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Health Services package, announced on 10 February 2006.

See the related expense measures COAG Health Services in the Health and Ageing, Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and Education, Science and Training portfolios.

Further information can be found in the Council of Australian Governments' Meeting Communiqué.

Community aged care — viability supplement in rural and remote areas
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.8 5.1 5.4 5.6
Related capital ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing 0.3 - - -

The Government will provide $19.4 million over four years (including $0.3 million in capital funding) for a viability supplement for Australian Government community care programmes, such as Community Aged Care Packages and Extended Aged Care at Home Packages, in rural and remote areas. The supplement recognises cost pressures faced by providers outside of metropolitan areas, including higher costs for goods and services and difficulties in attracting and training staff. Subsidies will be paid on a weighted scale according to remoteness of service recipients, size of service and number of special needs recipients.

Community aged care services in retirement villages — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $24.2 million over four years to improve access to community aged care services to better enable residents of retirement villages to remain living in their homes, and to defer the need to move to a residential aged care facility as their care needs increase. The focus will be on ensuring that residents of retirement villages have equitable access to Community Aged Care Packages and Extended Aged Care at Home packages as are used in the wider community.

This measure involves funding of $5.9 million in 2006-07, $6.0 million in 2007-08, $6.1 million in 2008-09 and $6.2 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Further information can be found in the press release of 3 May 2006 issued by the Minister for Ageing.

Community aged care workforce — additional training
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.6 4.5 4.1 2.2

The Government will provide funding of $13.4 million over four years to provide additional training for 2,700 direct care workers involved in the delivery of Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) and Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) Packages. Funding will be directed to qualifications offered within the Australian Qualifications Framework to ensure that it is high quality training linked to industry developed standards, and qualifications which are recognised nationally and portable between employers.

As part of this measure, the Government will also provide funding for a community aged care workforce census and survey planned for 2007 to improve understanding of the composition of the aged care workforce.

Counsellors on university campuses — establishment
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.4 5.5 5.9 6.0

The Government will provide $19.8 million over four years to establish a network of counsellors on university campuses to focus on the needs of people with substance abuse problems, including identifying the early onset of psychosis. The counsellors will also provide family support services, including for sole parents, and arrange referrals to appropriate specialist and mainstream community services. This measure involves an awareness campaign in universities on the links between mental illness and substance abuse.

This measure will help to improve early identification and referral to appropriate treatment for young people with a mental illness and substance abuse problems, as well as assisting those in crisis.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease — increased funding for surveillance
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing .. .. 0.1 ..

The Government will provide an additional $0.2 million over four years to further support the continued surveillance of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). This funding will provide for updates to the infection control guidelines and the CJD database.

This measure will extend the existing funding of $0.3 million in 2006-07, $0.3 million in 2007-08, $0.3 million in 2008-09 and $0.3 million in 2009-10. Already included in the forward estimates, this funding provides for the ongoing operation of the Australian National CJD Case Registry at the University of Melbourne. The Registry investigates CJD cases, performs testing and autopsies, and undertakes scientific research.

Croc Festivals — additional funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide an additional $2.2 million in 2005-06 to further support the 'Croc Festivals' in 2006 by its sponsorship of a series of community-based events. The 'Croc Festivals' for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people in rural and remote areas promote healthy, positive lifestyles and aim to improve educational and employment outcomes.

This funding is additional to the $1.2 million over four years provided for the Croc Festivals under the 2002-03 Budget measure — Croc Festivals, and the annual contributions from a range of agencies.

See also the related expense measure Community festivals for health promotion — additional funding in the Education, Science and Training portfolio.

DrinkWise Australia — contribution
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $5.0 million in 2005-06 to DrinkWise Australia to contribute to responsible drinking education programmes. DrinkWise Australia was established by the alcohol beverage sector and is a collaboration between industry and the community. DrinkWise Australia aims to bring about a healthier drinking culture by focusing on initiatives that minimise the harm associated with alcohol in the community.

Further information can be found in the press release of 26 April 2006 issued by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Drug and alcohol treatment services — infrastructure grants for non-government organisations
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $0.9 million in 2005-06 in infrastructure grants for drug and alcohol treatment services provided by non-government organisations. Funding comprises:

  • $50,000 for the Karralika Therapeutic Community, Australian Capital Territory;
  • $50,000 for the Salvation Army — Canberra Recovery Service, Australian Capital Territory;
  • $50,000 for the Salvation Army — OASIS Youth Service, New South Wales;
  • $50,000 for the Ted Noffs Foundation, New South Wales;
  • $50,000 for We Help Ourselves (WHOS), New South Wales;
  • $50,000 for Banyan House, Northern Territory;
  • $50,000 for the Drug & Alcohol Services Association, Northern Territory;
  • $50,000 for the Gold Coast Drug Council (Mirakai), Queensland;
  • $50,000 for Goorie Recovery House, Queensland;
  • $50,000 for the Aboriginal Sobriety Group, South Australia;
  • $50,000 for the Uniting Care — Wesley Mission Kuitpo Program, South Australia;
  • $50,000 for the Missiondale Recovery Centre, Tasmania;
  • $50,000 for The Link Youth Health Service, Tasmania;
  • $50,000 for Odyssey House, Victoria;
  • $50,000 for the Windana Society Therapeutic Community, Victoria;
  • $50,000 for Cyrenian House, Western Australia; and
  • $50,000 for the Palmerston Association, Western Australia.

Further information can be found in the press release of 19 April 2006 issued by the Treasurer.

Food regulation — streamlining processes
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Food Standards Australian New Zealand 1.1 0.7 - -
Department of Health and Ageing 0.5 0.5 - -
Total 1.7 1.2 - -

The Government will provide $2.9 million over two years to Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the Department of Health and Ageing, to streamline the food standards setting process including by developing a priority system for applicants and removing regulatory impediments to the efficiency and innovation of the food industry.

Health and Medical Research — additional funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 21.0 87.0 158.0 234.0

The Government will provide $500.0 million over four years to increase investment in health and medical research. This funding will enable the provision of additional research grants through the National Health and Medical Research Council.

This commitment follows the Government's announcement of its decision to sell Medibank Private Limited, and completes the Government's response to the 2004 Investment Review of Health and Medical Research (the Grant Review).

Health and Medical Research — establishment of a research fellowship scheme
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 8.0 14.4 20.9 27.4

The Government will provide $170.0 million over nine years (including $99.3 million from 2010-11 to 2014-15) to establish an Australian Health and Medical Research Fellowship Scheme to attract and retain leading researchers, through the National Health and Medical Research Council.

This is a long-term commitment from the Government to develop and enhance research capacity and maintain Australia's world class reputation. This commitment follows the Government's announcement of its decision to sell Medibank Private Limited, and completes the Government's response to the 2004 Investment Review of Health and Medical Research (the Grant Review).

Hospital safety — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide up to $6.9 million in 2006-07 as its contribution to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission). The Commission is a joint Australian Government and State and Territory Government body, and superseded the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care in early 2006. It will focus on quality improvements in primary care and the private sector, which are central to the national safety and quality improvements agenda.

Provision for funding of $6.9 million in 2006-07 has already been included in the forward estimates. Funding beyond 2006-07 is to be considered in the 2007-08 Budget, once the cost of the operation of the new Commission has been fully determined.

Illicit drug use — combating emerging trends
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 7.3 8.6 9.7 8.8

The Government will provide $34.4 million over four years to combat emerging trends in illicit drug use.

Funding of $23.7 million will provide for a third phase of the National Illicit Drugs Campaign to communicate drug prevention messages to discourage illicit drug use and increase community awareness of the harm caused by psychostimulants. This includes research into attitudes, knowledge and behaviours regarding drug use in Australia to ensure the ongoing impact and relevance of the communication materials. This third phase will build on the previous two phases of the Campaign.

Funding of $10.7 million will also be provided to enhance the National Psychostimulants Initiative by funding initiatives such as the dissemination of guidance and training resources to strengthen the capacity of workers to deal more effectively with people using psychostimulants.

Lifeline — assistance for national telephony system
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $2.4 million in 2005-06 to assist in the completion of Lifeline's national telephony system. Lifeline provides counselling services to the community allowing people to receive confidential advice from trained counsellors about relationship and family issues, mental health concerns, suicide prevention and support, and coping with loss, change and traumatic experiences.

Further information can be found in the press release of 5 April 2006 issued by the Prime Minister.

Lifescripts — increased funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 0.9 0.8 0.8 0.2

The Government will provide a total of $5.5 million over four years to continue and expand the Lifescripts community awareness and infrastructure programme for primary care. The programme produces Lifescripts resources for general practitioners to provide healthy lifestyle advice to patients. The expansion of this programme will allow resources to be adapted for culturally and linguistically diverse and Indigenous patients, as well as provide for additional training to encourage general practitioner take-up.

This measure will increase the existing funding of $2.8 million, which comprises $0.7 million in 2006-07, $0.7 million in 2007-08, $0.7 million in 2008-09 and $0.7 million in 2009-10. Provision for this component of the funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Medical Research — additional contribution to Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $50.0 million in 2005-06 to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research as a contribution towards a seven-story extension of the Institute that will provide for a doubling of its floor space available for medical research. This funding will allow the Institute to significantly expand its research activities, particularly in the areas of cancer and infectious diseases.

This funding continues the Government's commitment to health and medical research, and builds upon the $104.0 million provided to the Institute since 2000 through the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Further information can be found in the press release of 3 March 2006 issued by the Prime Minister.

Medical research facilities — grants for development and expansion
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide grants totalling $165.0 million in 2005-06 for a variety of development and expansion projects by medical research facilities. Funding comprises:

  • $15.0 million for the Westmead Millennium Institute, New South Wales;
  • $14.0 million for the Garvan Institute and Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, New South Wales;
  • $10.0 million for the Centenary Institute, New South Wales;
  • $10.0 million for the Children's Cancer Institute Australia, New South Wales;
  • $10.0 million for the Heart Research Institute, New South Wales;
  • $6.0 million for the Sydney Melanoma Unit, New South Wales;
  • $5.0 million for the Hunter Medical Research Institute, New South Wales;
  • $5.0 million for the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales;
  • $2.0 million for the Brain and Mind Research Institute, New South Wales;
  • $10.0 million for the Queensland Brain Institute, Queensland;
  • $5.0 million for the Gallipoli Research Foundation, Queensland;
  • $2.0 million for the National Adult Stem Cell Research Centre, Griffith University, Queensland;
  • $37.0 million for the Howard Florey Institute, Victoria;
  • $10.0 million for the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, Victoria;
  • $10.0 million for the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Victoria;
  • $10.0 million for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre, Victoria; and
  • $4.0 million for the Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases, Western Australia.

See also the related expense measure Adult Stem Cell Research Centre — contribution in the Health and Ageing portfolio.

Medicare — continuation of bulk-billing incentives for GPs in areas of workforce shortage and lower than average bulk-billing rates
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 18.0 23.7 - -

The Government will provide $41.6 million over two years to continue the bulk-billing incentive introduced on 1 September 2004 as part of the Strengthening Medicare package.

The $7.50 incentive for bulk-billing Commonwealth concession cardholders and children under 16 years of age applies to general practitioners in eligible metropolitan areas where there have been both doctor shortages and lower than average bulk-billing rates. Funding for 2008-09 and later years will be determined following a review of the parameters of the programme in the 2008-09 Budget.

Medicare Benefits Schedule — new and revised listings
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 34.6 38.5 41.6 45.2
Department of Veterans' Affairs 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.1
Total 36.4 40.3 43.6 47.2

The Government will provide $176.5 million over five years (including $9.0 million in 2005-06) for new and revised listings on the Medicare Benefits Schedule and Veterans' Benefits added since the 2005-06 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The amendments to the Schedule include the addition of new items for:

  • selective internal radiation therapy;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child annual health assessments;
  • health assessments for refugees and other humanitarian entrants;
  • immunisation and wound management services provided by a registered Aboriginal Health Worker on behalf of a general practitioner in the Northern Territory;
  • paediatric ophthalmology; and
  • cardiac resynchronisation.

Further information can be found in the summary of changes included in the 1 November 2005 and 1 May 2006 Medicare Benefits Schedule issued by the Department of Health and Ageing.

Medicare item for general practitioner participation in Home Medicine Review —continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -
Department of Veterans' Affairs - - - -
Total - - - -

The Government will provide $41.6 million over four years to continue access to Medicare benefits for general practitioners participating in Home Medicines Reviews for patients who are at risk of medication-related problems, including patients with Veterans' Affairs entitlements. This programme enables general practitioners to work in collaboration with pharmacists to review the medication of these patients.

This measure will involve funding of $8.9 million in 2006-07, $10.1 million in 2007-08, $11.2 million in 2008-09 and $11.4 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

More Doctors for Outer Metropolitan Areas — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing -0.9 -0.7 .. 1.3

The Government will provide $64.5 million over four years to continue the More Doctors for Outer Metropolitan Areas programme. This funding will provide incentives to encourage general practitioners (GPs) and specialists to relocate from relatively well-supplied inner-metropolitan areas to, or extend their hours of work in, outer-metropolitan areas of workforce shortage.

Within the funding provided in the forward estimates the focus of the programme will be adjusted to better address the ongoing issue of workforce shortages in outer metropolitan areas. This will include an increase in the size of existing relocation grants for GPs, provide additional training placements for GP registrars and specialist trainees and a winding down of the higher Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rebate for non-vocationally recognised GPs.

The measure involves funding of $15.0 million in 2006-07, $15.4 million in 2007-08, $16.3 million in 2008-09 and $17.8 million in 2009-10. Funding of $64.9 million over four years has already been included in the forward estimates. This measure will result in reduced MBS costs, compared with the forward estimates, of $0.3 million over the four years. The figures appearing in the information table show the impact of reprofiling the forward estimates to reflect the changes to the programme.

National Cannabis Control and Prevention Centre — establishment
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.1 3.0 5.0 4.8

The Government will provide $14.0 million over four years to establish a National Cannabis Control and Prevention Centre to ensure the prevention of cannabis use receives appropriate priority. The Centre will also implement the objectives of the National Cannabis Strategy including improving community understanding of the dangers of cannabis use.

The National Cannabis Control and Prevention Centre will be established in 2007-08 and will develop training programmes for the health workforce on the treatment of cannabis use, maintain an information database on scientific studies of cannabis use and monitor public attitudes on the use of cannabis.

The funding will also provide for formative research and surveys of cannabis users and the drug workforce in 2006-07 to provide a better understanding of cannabis issues to ensure the National Cannabis Control and Prevention Centre's activities are appropriately targeted.

National Childhood Pneumococcal Vaccination Programme — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing nfp nfp nfp nfp

The Government will continue the National Childhood Pneumococcal Vaccination Programme. This programme commenced on 1 January 2005. The programme provides free pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevenar) for all children born on or after 1 January 2005 at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.

Funding for the programme is subject to the determination of the ongoing price of the vaccine by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Pricing Authority (PBPA). Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

National Continence Management Strategy — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $18.2 million over four years to continue the National Continence Management Strategy which aims to improve continence awareness, treatment and management, so that more Australians can live independently and participate in their communities longer and more fully.

This measure involves funding of $4.4 million in 2006-07, $4.5 million in 2007-08, $4.6 million in 2008-09 and $4.7 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

National Safe Use of Alcohol Strategy — media campaign
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.9 9.9 8.5 4.9

The Government will provide $25.2 million over four years for a national media campaign to discourage the abuse of alcohol, increase awareness of the impact of intoxication, and encourage long term cultural change to reduce alcohol related harm in the community.

The funding will provide for a television, radio and print campaign targeting the general public, education materials to support the campaign, and a revision of the Australian Alcohol Guidelines to align with the latest information and research on alcohol use.

National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $1.1 million over four years to continue its contribution to the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre, which conducts research into all aspects of productive ageing and promotes the productive ageing of older Australians.

This measure involves funding of $0.3 million in 2006-07, $0.3 million in 2007-08, $0.3 million in 2008-09 and $0.3 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Optical health — support
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.7 4.4 4.1 2.6

The Government will provide $13.8 million over four years to support a range of activities to promote optical health and to help reduce avoidable blindness and vision loss amongst Australians. This will include public education and professional development activities, trial and evaluation of new service delivery models for optical care (particularly for rural and remote regions) and research to underpin all of these initiatives.

Organ donation — increased funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 7.6 8.4 7.5 4.8

The Government will provide $28.4 million over four years to increase the rate of organ and tissue donation in Australia. This measure will fund a range of initiatives including raising community awareness, wider registration options for the Australian Organ Donation Register, improving quality and safety of organs for transplant, the development of nationally consistent waiting lists for organ and tissue transplants, support for the Australian and World Transplant Games, and an expert clinical taskforce to assist with national implementation of these and related initiatives.

This funding is in addition to $48.8 million over four years already allocated to fund service delivery and provide financial assistance to those Australians requiring blood and organ donation services.

Palliative care in the community — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $62.8 million over four years to continue to fund national initiatives that contribute to the improvement of palliative care services for Australians with a terminal illness and provide support for their families and carers. Initiatives include increasing access to pharmaceuticals, respite care and bereavement services, and support for education training and research activities.

This measure involves funding of $15.3 million in 2006-07, $15.5 million in 2007-08, $15.8 million in 2008-09 and $16.1 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme — listing of Raptiva® (efalizumab)
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 43.7 55.9 58.0 59.7
Medicare Australia 0.8 0.8 0.9 0.9
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.6 0.8 0.8 0.8
Total 45.2 57.5 59.7 61.4

The Government has, from 1 April 2006, listed Raptiva® (efalizumab) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS, at an estimated cost of $235.4 million over five years (including $11.6 million in 2005-06), which includes funding for administering payments through Medicare Australia.

Raptiva® is used in the treatment of patients with severe chronic plaque psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition. This listing will help in the treatment of severe cases where patients have not adequately responded to alternative treatments.

The average cost to the Government of providing Raptiva® will be approximately $1,055 per prescription. General consumers will pay a $29.50 co-payment per prescription (each prescription provides 4 weeks' treatment) and concession card holders will pay a $4.70 co-payment per prescription.

Further information can be found in the press release of 21 February 2006 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme — listing of Vytorin®
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 17.6 30.2 43.9 59.8
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.9 1.5 2.0 2.7
Medicare Australia 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2
Total 18.6 31.8 46.0 62.7

The Government has, from 1 February 2006, listed Vytorin® on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation PBS, at an estimated cost of $163.8 million over five years (including $4.7 million in 2005-06), which includes funding for administering payments through Medicare Australia.

Vytorin®, which is a combination of two PBS listed drugs (simvastatin and ezetimibe), is used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. This listing will assist with the management of high cholesterol levels in patients with coronary heart disease and/or diabetes when standard statin therapy does not adequately control high cholesterol levels. This combination drug makes it easier for patients to comply with their treatment, as they will now be able to take a single tablet at the cost of one co-payment per prescription.

The average cost to the Government of providing Vytorin® will be approximately $130 per prescription. General consumers will pay a $29.50 co-payment per prescription (each prescription provides one month's treatment) and concession card holders will pay a $4.70 co-payment per prescription.

Further information can be found in the press release of 19 December 2005 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme — minor new listings
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 17.6 19.5 21.2 21.3

The Government will provide $85.6 million over five years (including $5.9 million in 2005-06) for minor new listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) since the 2005-06 Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The minor new listings (including extensions of PBS listings) are a mix of drugs that have been listed at either no additional cost to the Budget (because they displace existing drugs) or at an estimated cost of less than $10.0 million per annum.

New listings that have a minor cost to the Government include:

  • Ezetrol® (lipid modifying agent) for the treatment of peripheral vascular disease and heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia;
  • Xeloda® for the treatment of stage III Colon cancer;
  • Thalidomide Pharmion® for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma (a cancer of the blood and immune system); and
  • Pegasys®, PEG-Intron Redipen®, Pegasys RBV® and Pegatron® for the treatment of hepatitis C.

Further information can be found in the press releases of 1 December 2005, 1 February 2006 and 31 March 2006 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Pregnancy support counselling — national telephone helpline
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.2 4.0 4.7 4.7

The Government will provide $15.5 million over four years for a national pregnancy support telephone helpline. The helpline will provide professional and non-directive advice around the clock to assist women, their partners and family members who wish to explore pregnancy options. This measure will help improve the availability of timely and confidential pregnancy counselling for Australian women and their partners, including those in rural and remote areas, by providing advice on the full range of services and organisations available to support pregnant women.

See also the related expense measure Pregnancy support counselling — new Medicare item in the Health and Ageing portfolio.

Further information can be found in the press release of 2 March 2006 issued jointly by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Pregnancy support counselling — new Medicare item
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 6.5 9.4 9.5 9.6
Medicare Australia 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total 6.6 9.6 9.7 9.8

The Government will provide $35.6 million over four years to fund a new Medicare item for general practitioners and qualified allied health professionals to conduct independent, non-directive pregnancy support counselling.

This measure will help to provide pregnancy support counselling for women exploring options in the face of unintended pregnancy or where they are uncertain about continuing with the pregnancy. Women who have had an unintended pregnancy in the preceding 12 months will also be able to access the Medicare item.

See also the related expense measure Pregnancy support counselling — national telephone helpline in the Health and Ageing portfolio.

Further information can be found in the press release of 2 March 2006 issued jointly by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Private health insurance — appropriate regulation
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.3 1.1 0.7 0.3

The Government will provide $3.3 million over four years to streamline private health insurance related legislation such that regulation of the private health insurance industry is the minimum necessary to achieve the Government's objectives and protect the public interest. A restructuring of private health insurance legislation will reduce complexity and will focus on the regulatory outcomes of insurance products, rather than the activities of private health insurance funds.

This measure will also introduce new safety and quality standards across the industry so that all privately insured services will be required to be offered by accredited and/or suitably qualified providers. These standards will improve service provision and increase consumer confidence in private health.

Further information can be found in a joint press release of 26 April 2006 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Finance and Administration.

Private health insurance — enhanced choices
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 9.5 16.7 9.1 13.7
Medicare Australia 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Australian Taxation Office .. 0.1 0.2 0.3
Private Health Insurance Ombudsman - 0.6 0.6 0.6
Total 9.7 17.5 10.1 14.7
Related revenue ($m)
Private Health Insurance Ombudsman - 0.6 0.6 0.6

The Government will provide $52.1 million over four years to increase consumer awareness of the incentives and benefits associated with private health insurance. This will include a general marketing campaign, jointly funded with industry, to provide consumers with relevant information about private health care and its associated insurance products. It will also involve an ongoing direct marketing campaign, to be undertaken by Medicare Australia, to raise awareness among those consumers who may incur a Lifetime Health Cover loading if they purchase private health insurance after they turn thirty-one. It is estimated that the direct marketing campaign will result in an increase in the number of people taking up private health insurance, which increases the cost of the Government's private health insurance rebate.

The measure will also require private health funds to provide standard product information to consumers so that they can more easily compare important product attributes, such as premiums, waiting periods, exclusions, hospital and medical gaps and excesses.

This measure includes funding of $1.7 million for the development of an industry website, to be managed by the office of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, which allows better comparison of private health insurance products. The ongoing funding of the website will be provided through an increase in the Private Health Insurance complaints levy of $1.7 million over three years paid by private health insurance funds under the Private Health Insurance Complaints Levy Act 1995.

Further information can be found in a joint press release of 26 April 2006 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Finance and Administration.

Private health insurance — improvements to products
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.9 1.0 0.7 1.0

The Government will provide $4.6 million over four years to allow private health insurers to provide products that are more responsive to the needs of consumers. This measure will allow private health insurers to extend benefits payable through their hospital-only cover policies from 1 April 2007. Approved services will include those delivered outside the hospital that are part of, prevent or substitute for hospitalisation, and will include the Outreach Hospital in the Home programme. This will remove an incentive that promotes hospitalisation over community-based services and allow private health insurers to design new products, such as products that focus on preventative activities leading to better health outcomes.

The measure will also introduce a new risk equalisation model that will better support community rating by improving the level of risk sharing between private health insurers from 1 April 2007. This change will also remove a financial incentive to discriminate against high-risk members, protect small funds from catastrophic claims and remove an existing financial penalty on single parents with private health insurance by treating single families as single equivalent units for reinsurance purposes.

In addition to the above, people who have paid a Lifetime Health Cover loading on their private health insurance for ten continuous years, will be entitled to have their loading removed. The legislation to enable this will take effect from 1 April 2007, with the first people expected to benefit from this measure in July 2010. This will aid member retention by providing a direct price reduction for affected members.

Funding will also be provided for activities aimed at increasing the incidence of Informed Financial Consent (IFC). IFC occurs when doctors explain their fees and inform patients about any out-of-pocket costs that the patient might have to meet, and where possible, the fees of any other doctors involved in the patient's treatment.

Further information can be found in a joint press release of 26 April 2006 issued by the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Finance and Administration.

Psychogeriatric support services — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -

The Government will provide $23.7 million over four years to continue to improve care for people with dementia and challenging behaviours through services provided by psychogeriatric care units. These units will become part of the new Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Services that provide support and training for aged care staff and carers in the community through expert diagnosis, assessment, care management, advice and support on dementia and challenging behaviours.

This measure involves funding of $5.8 million in 2006-07, $5.9 million in 2007-08, $6.0 million in 2008-09 and $6.1 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Therapeutic products — continued advisory role
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 1.2 1.2 - -

The Government will provide $2.4 million over two years to continue a therapeutic products advisory role within the Department of Health and Ageing, separate from the Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority.

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, in anticipation of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, currently operating within the Department, becoming part of the Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority.

Therapeutic products — establishment of Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Health and Ageing 2.4 - - -

The Government will provide $2.4 million in 2006-07 as Australia's share of establishing the Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority (ANZTPA). The ANZTPA will regulate therapeutic products in Australia and New Zealand, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, complementary medicines, medical devices and blood products. It will replace Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration and New Zealand's Medsafe.

The funding will provide for the management of the Joint Authority Management Group that is working towards the establishment of the ANZTPA, development of governance, regulatory and accountability arrangements, expert advisory committees, and consultation with stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand.

The funding is in addition to funding of $8.1 million provided in the 2003-04 Budget measure Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Products Agency — establishment.

Further information can be found in the press release of 11 December 2005 issued by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and Medsafe.

Visudyne Therapy (verteporfin) — continue funding
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Medicare Australia - - - -
Department of Health and Ageing - - - -
Department of Veterans' Affairs - - - -
Total - - - -

The Government will continue funding for photodynamic therapy with verteporfin, 'Visudyne Therapy', to treat macular degeneration at an estimated cost of $139.8 million over four years, including funding for administering payments through Medicare Australia. This condition eventually leads to blindness and primarily affects older Australians. Visudyne Therapy can halt deterioration in vision for patients with a particular type of macular degeneration, thus enabling patients to continue to live independently and to enjoy much better lives. The unit cost of Visudyne is $2,100 per treatment plus the medical fee. Patients may need up to ten treatments over a two to three year period. Under this measure, patients will be able to access the therapy under Medicare and Veterans' Benefits arrangements.

This measure involves funding of $33.9 million in 2006-07, $34.7 million in 2007-08, $35.4 million in 2008-09 and $35.7 in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

 

Miscellaneous