8 May 2018

Guaranteeing the essential services Australians rely on


The Turnbull Government's plan for a stronger economy is enabling the government to deliver record investment in Medicare, hospitals, schools and disability services and make new commitments to provide better care and support for older Australians.

Our strengthening economy is guaranteeing access to high quality essential services that Australians rely on, like Medicare and schools while keeping Australians safe and providing more choices for a longer life.

More choices for a longer life

The Government is providing more choice for Australians as they age, enabling them to live healthier, more independent and safer lives so they can take advantage of the opportunities that a longer life brings.

The Government is encouraging people to make informed choices to plan for a longer life with new 45 and 65 year checks, these checks will provide interactive online health, skills and financial checks.

An expanded Pension Work Bonus will allow pensioners to earn an extra $1,300 a year without reducing their pension payments. For the first time, the bonus will be extended to self-employed individuals who can now earn up to $7,800 per year.

The Pension Loans Scheme will be expanded to all Australians over the pension age, including full rate pensioners and self-funded retirees, so they can boost their retirement income.

A new Skills Checkpoint will provide advice on relevant skills and training to help workers build their careers or transition to jobs in new industries. A Skills and Training Incentive will provide up to $2,000 to fund up-skilling opportunities for mature age workers.

Access to the Restart wage subsidy will be expanded for Australians aged over 50, providing up to $10,000 to employers to support workers as they start a new career. New Entrepreneurship Facilitators will help those interested in starting their own business. This means older Australians will have more money in their pockets and our businesses will benefit from the knowledge and experience they bring to an organisation.

The Government's More Choices for a Longer Life Package also provides more assistance for older Australians who choose to stay at home through a $1.6 billion investment in an extra 14,000 high-level home care packages.

Our aged care system must guarantee and respect the dignity of older Australians. The Government is therefore reforming the aged care system to ensure that providers are delivering the care that the community expects and is investing $82.5 million to improve access to mental health services in residential aged care.

And we will oppose unfair tax grabs on retirees and pensioners, by enabling everyone who has invested in Australian companies that issue franked dividends, to keep their tax refunds.

Investing in our teachers and schools

Our legislated needs based funding for schools delivers $24.5 billion more over the next ten years. This means 50 per cent more funding per student, on average, over a decade. The Government is also supporting the recommendations of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools led by Mr David Gonski AC.

The Government is delivering on the recommendations of the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education to provide additional support to rural and regional students. In addition, the Government is ensuring universal access to early childhood education by funding preschools for the 2019 school year.

The National Schools Chaplaincy Programme has been provided with permanent funding, to assist 3,000 schools, the Programme will continue to support the wellbeing of students through the provision of pastoral care services and with a special new anti-bullying focus.

Guaranteeing essential health services

The Government is increasing investment in health from $78.8 billion in 2018-19 to $85 billion in 2021-22, is providing record levels of funding for public hospitals and will make a $35.3 billion credit to the Medicare Guarantee Fund for 2018-19.

These investments will guarantee Australians receive essential medical, pharmaceutical and hospital services. This Budget also includes funding to boost essential infant health services, to support new families and their children in their early years of life.

The Government will also ensure better distribution of health care in rural and regional areas and will improve the availability of dental, mental health and emergency aeromedical services by providing additional funding to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. We will create new training opportunities and improve the supply of doctors by funding new medical schools in regional centres.

Guaranteeing the NDIS

Australians with permanent and significant disability will have access to the lifetime care and support they need through the NDIS. The Commonwealth will fund its share of all current and future NDIS expenditure by continuing to deliver a strong economy and ensuring the Government lives within its means.

Every dollar and every cent committed to delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme is in place and always will be.

For those who are not eligible for the NDIS but are in programmes that are transitioning to the NDIS, the Government will provide funding of $92.1 million to ensure their support continues, as well as establish an NDIS Jobs and Market Fund to help grow the workforce and assist providers.

Affordable, reliable and sustainable energy

The National Energy Guarantee will see a $400 reduction to the average annual Australian household power bill, placing a focus on affordability and reliability, while meeting our emissions targets. The Guarantee will provide much needed certainty the energy market needs.

The Government is also helping customers find the best deal and better manage their energy use through the creation of the Consumer Data Right for energy.

Keeping Australians Safe

There is no more important essential service than keeping Australians safe. We are protecting Australians from those who would seek to do us harm and exert unwelcome influence on our soil.

Under Operation Sovereign Borders, the Government has halted the people smugglers, however we must remain vigilant to the threat of illegal boat arrivals. The Government will provide funding of $62.2 million to maintain Australian Border Force Cutter Ocean Shield at surge capacity, and provide ongoing investment in international engagement activities to prevent and disrupt people smuggling.

Over $290 million will be invested in aviation security to safeguard Australia against evolving threats in the civil aviation sector with enhanced screening of passengers through airports. Upgraded equipment and new technologies will be used to screen air cargo and international mail entering Australia. AFP and Australian Border Force presence and capability will be enhanced at all major airports and nine major domestic airports.

The Government continues its commitment to restore Defence funding to 2 per cent of GDP by 2020-21 and will provide $200 billion over the next decade for the Defence Integrated Investment Program to bolster Defence Force capability through programs such as the Land 400 Project and the Future Submarine Program to ensure our Defence force personnel have the right equipment for the job.