(For up to date information about the Government’s response to COVID-19, visit: www.australia.gov.au)
Australia’s health response to COVID-19 has been world leading.
Australia has one of the lowest rates of both COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita in the OECD.
For example, the death rate from COVID-19 has been over 50 times higher in the USA and the UK.
By avoiding the rate of death that other comparable countries have had, Australia has saved around 30,000 lives.
The Government has committed over $30 billion to the vaccine rollout and strengthening our health system in response to COVID-19.
This includes the delivery of 9,000 new ventilators and the Government is boosting Australia’s National Medical Stockpile with millions of masks, gowns, goggles, and ventilators.
The Liberal and Nationals Government has extended Medicare subsidised telehealth services, enabling more than 70 million consultations (between March 2020 and August 2021).
Over 30 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted.
The Government has secured access to 200 million doses of vaccines for COVID-19, from five suppliers – AstraZenica, Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax and the Covax facility.
The Government is committing an additional $17.7 billion to significantly improve our aged care system. This includes another 80,000 new home care packages, bringing the total to 275,000 home care packages that will be available by 2023.
The Government will continue to back our health system, by guaranteeing record levels of funding for hospitals, medicines and Medicare.
RECORD HOSPITAL INVESTMENT
Federal funding for public hospitals will more than double compared to Labor – $13.3 billion in 2012-13 to $29.9 billion in 2024-25.
This means record numbers of hospital services, doctors and nurses.
RECORD BULK BILLING
More Australians are now seeing their doctor without having to pay.
The GP bulk billing rate last year (12 months to June 2021) was 88.8%, up from 82.2% in 2012-13 (Labor’s last year in government).
More than 171.5 million free GP services were delivered in 2020-21 – 67.5 million more than in Labor’s last year.
In total, there were 440 million Medicare services last year, with $25.9 billion in total benefits paid.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Liberal and Nationals Government have extended Medicare subsidised telehealth services, enabling around 70 million (as at August) consultations since the crisis began.
Since we came into government, over 2,700 medicine listings worth $13.5 billion have been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
These help people suffering from cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, severe osteoporosis and chronic migraines.
Some of these cost thousands of dollars, but are now available for $6.60 (concessional) or $41.30 (general patients) per script.
BETTER ACCESS TO LIFE-SAVING SCANS
Our Government is providing $375 million for more than 50 additional Medicare-eligible MRI machines, enabling more Australians to access scans for cancer, stroke, heart and other conditions.
And for the first time, Medicare is covering the cost of MRI and PET scans for breast cancer patients. This will improve diagnosis and treatment.
SIMPLER, MORE AFFORDABLE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE
We have taken steps to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable.
Reforms have resulted in the lowest premium changes in 20 years (2.74% in 2021).
The Liberal and Nationals Government established the Medical Research Future Fund to provide long term, sustainable funding for research.
Over the next four years, our Government is ensuring record funding of $6.7 billion for medical research.
The Government’s total commitment to mental health support is $6.5 billion this year, including funding for critical front line services and suicide prevention.
The Government has nearly doubled funding for mental health since 2013.
Around 12.4 million Medicare subsidised mental health services were delivered in 2019-20.
The Government has doubled the number of Medicare subsidised psychological services available through the Better Access Initiative, from 10 to 20.
More funding is being provided for Lifeline, headspace, Beyond Blue and Kids Helpline.
Our No Jab, No Pay policy means parents must immunise their children (unless there is a valid medical exemption) to receive child care and family payments.
The immunisation rate for five year old children is over 95% – the highest on record.
All 12 and 13 year old girls and boys now have free access to the Gardasil 9 Vaccine, to protect them from the HPV virus.
This will protect Australians from cervical and other cancers and save lives.
The Government is providing the whooping cough vaccine to all pregnant women.
RURAL AND REGIONAL HEALTH
Australians living in rural and regional Australia have access to new services including new regional cancer centres and telehealth services.
Our Stronger Rural Health Strategy is delivering 3,000 more doctors and over 3,000 extra nurses and allied health professionals over the next decade.
DRUG TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
To tackle the scourge of Ice, the Liberal and Nationals Government will continue to invest over $800 million over the next four years, including through our National Ice Action Strategy.
This includes funding that has supported over 240 Local Drug Action Teams in communities across Australia.
We’ve also delivered an additional 605 local drug and alcohol services since 2016.
SUPPORT FOR PATIENTS WITH DIABETES
Our Government has expanded free access to glucose monitoring devices for pregnant women, children and more adults with type 1 diabetes, saving Australians up to $7,000 a year.
HELPING TO END TRANSMISSION OF HIV
The Liberal and Nationals Government has taken a critical step in helping to end the transmission of HIV.
People at medium to high risk of HIV infection now have access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Information current as at September 2021