JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Guaranteeing essential services

MC 37/19

Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance and the Public Service
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia

The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP
Treasurer
Federal Member for Kooyong

Date: Tuesday, 2 April 2019

The Morrison Government is guaranteeing essential services through the 2019-20 Budget with record funding for schools and hospitals while also keeping Australians safe and our borders secure.

Investing in Australia’s education system

The 2019-20 Budget will deliver record levels of funding for schools to ensure teachers have the support they need to prepare students for the future.

Recurrent funding for schools will reach $19.9 billion in 2019, with average Commonwealth funding per student having increased from $3,755 in 2014 to $5,097 in 2019. By 2029, this funding will grow to $32.4 billion, an increase of 63 per cent.

The Budget also includes $30.2 million in 2019-20 to schools under the Local School Community Fund that will allow communities to fund projects such as upgrades to libraries, classrooms and play equipment.

To help children get the best start to their education, the Government will ensure every child has access to a quality preschool education by investing $453 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education until the end of 2020.

The Government is also investing a record $17.7 billion in the university sector to build on our worldclass higher education system in 2019. This is projected to grow to more than $20 billion by 2024.

Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow  

The Government will equip Australians with the skills they need now and for the future by investing $525 million over five years to develop a modern vocational education and training (VET) sector.

A National Skills Commission (NSC) will be established to drive long-term reform of VET.

To deliver up to 80,000 additional apprentices over five years to enter occupations currently experiencing skill shortages, the Government is introducing an Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment.

The Government will provide $41.7 million over four years to pilot Skills Organisations across the country in the key areas of human services care and digital technologies including cyber security. 

To ensure all Australians have the skills they need for work, the Government will provide $62.4 million to establish a national program to deliver foundational training in language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills.  
 
To tackle high youth unemployment in regional areas, $50.6 million will be invested to pilot ten Training Hubs. 

Investing in better health

The Government is also committing record funding to health to continue to guarantee and strengthen Medicare, boost health services across the country, and make medicines more affordable.

Total health spending is expected to increase from $81.8 billion in 2019-20 to $89.5 billion in 2022-23.

Commonwealth funding of public hospitals is estimated to exceed $130 billion over the life of the next health and hospitals agreement from 2020‑21 to 2024‑25.

The Government is helping to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for patients by providing $199 million to increase patient rebates for diagnostic imaging items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) from 1 July 2020. To support about 14,000 breast cancer patients each year, a further $32.6 million is being provided to reduce the cost of services for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). 

The Government is also providing $187 million to increase patient rebates for 119 GP service items on the MBS from 1 July 2019.

A further $152 million will be invested in new MRI licenses for lifesaving medical imaging technology to give patients from across Australia better access to leading health care, including at Mount Druitt Hospital in New South Wales, Ipswich Hospital in Queensland and Kalgoorlie Health Campus in Western Australia. 

The $1.3 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program will boost health services across Australia. This includes $100 million funding for a comprehensive children’s cancer centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, and $60 million to support the James Cook University Tropical Enterprise Centre in Queensland to become a centre of excellence in tropical medicine.

The Government is ensuring Australians have affordable access to medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

This Budget includes $331 million for new and amended listings on the PBS, including life-changing medicines to treat lung, bladder, kidney and skin cancer as well as leukaemia.

The Government will invest $461 million in Australia’s most significant youth mental health and suicide prevention strategy which will see 30 new headspace centres, reduced waiting lists and more support for indigenous youth including through mentoring and peer support.

Supporting older Australians

A record $21.6 billion will go towards ensuring older Australians can access higher-quality and safer aged care in 2019-20. This is an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2013-14.

The Government is providing $282.4 million to support older Australians who wish to stay at home for longer through an additional 10,000 home care packages.This will bring to 40,000 the number of new packages announced over the last 18 months. The Government is providing a $320 million general subsidy boost in 2018‑19 for residential aged care and 13,500 new residential care places. To assist older Australians to save for their retirement, the Government is relaxing restrictions on their ability to contribute to superannuation. From 1 July 2020, Australians aged under 67 years will be able to make voluntary contributions without meeting the work test and other age‑based rules will be streamlined.  

Affordable and reliable energy

The Government will provide $284 million for a one‑off, income tax exempt payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples to more than 3.9 million eligible social security payment recipients, assisting with their next power bill and cost of living expenses.

The Government has given the green light to the Snowy 2.0 project by providing a $1.4 billion equity injection. The project will provide more affordable, reliable and sustainable power for up to 500,000 homes.

Partnering with the Tasmanian Government, the Australian Government is accelerating the Battery of the Nation and Marinus Link projects by providing $56 million for a new interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria. This will unlock Tasmania’s hydro capacity and support more sustainable and reliable electricity for homes and businesses.

Delivering for Australians in need

Australia’s carers are our nation’s unsung heroes That is why the Government is investing $84.3 million to enable carers to leave a loved one in safe hands and get a much needed break.

The Government is also providing $328 million over four years from 2018‑19 to deliver its Fourth Action Plan under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 ‑ 2022.

Subject to the finalisation of the terms of reference and consideration by the Governor-General, the Government will provide $528 million over five years to establish a Royal Commission to examine violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

Keeping Australia safe

In this Budget, the Government is continuing to make Australia more secure and ensure Australians remain safe.

Through our $337 million Comprehensive Drug Strategy, the Government is helping to prevent and minimise the harmful effects of illicit drugs, like ice and heroin. The Strategy will increase access to services outside metropolitan areas to fund local family drug support programs while also providing the Australian Federal Police with extra resources to crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs and their drug supply chains.

A record $200 billion will be invested in Australia’s Defence capability over the next decade to strengthen the capability of the Australian Defence Force to protect Australia and Australia’s interests.

These investments will both enhance our capability and provide opportunities to develop Australian industry and jobs.

The Government is also building the capability of national security and law enforcement agencies. This includes over $513 million over five years for the Australian Federal Police to enhance its counter terrorism activities and community policing services. 

The Government is continuing to bolster Australia’s defences against cyber attacks as part of the Cyber Security Strategy. This will help protect IT systems against targeted attacks and enable quick responses in the event of incidents. Guaranteeing essential services is part of our plan for a stronger economy.

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Media Contact(s)

For Minister Cormann: Karen Wu - 0428 350 139
For the Treasurer: Kane Silom - (02) 6277 7340