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Excerpts from Treasurer Scott Morrison’s Budget Speech 2018-19

Our national economy is strengthening, but it is also true that the benefits are yet to reach everyone. This will take more time. That is why it is important to stick to our plan. There is more to do. We cannot take a stronger economy for granted. We live in a very competitive world. If we make the wrong calls, other countries will ‘cut our lunch’. There is a lot to gain and much to lose. We can’t ease off.

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In this year’s Budget there are five things we must to do to further strengthen our economy to guarantee the essentials Australians rely on.

  1. Provide tax relief to encourage and reward working Australians and reduce cost pressures on households, including lowering electricity prices,
  2. Keep backing business to invest and create more jobs, especially small and medium sized businesses,
  3. Guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on, like Medicare, hospitals, schools and caring for older Australians,
  4. Keep Australians safe, with new investments to secure our borders, and, as always,
  5. Ensure that the Government lives within its means, keeping spending and taxes under control.

That’s our plan.

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Tonight we announce a new 21st century medical industry plan to create more jobs in this fast growing sector of our economy. The health sector represents 7 per cent of our economy and 14 per cent of jobs. Our plan will provide more support for medical research projects, new diagnostic tools, clinical trials of new drugs, scientific collaboration, and development of new medical technologies that can be sold overseas. In particular we will back in Australian medical scientists through the largest single investment of the Medical Research Future Fund to date of $500 million over ten years for Australia to become a world leader in genomic research. This is about building another strong and competitive industry in Australia that will generate income and jobs, from the white coats in the labs to the workers making new medical devices on the shop floor.

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In rural and regional areas we have funded a plan to get more doctors to where they are needed through a new workforce incentive program. This plan includes the establishment of a new network of five regional medical schools within the broader Murray Darling Region. And we have moved to guarantee rural and remote access to dental, mental health and emergency medical services through increased financial support for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Indigenous Australians also benefit from our $550 million commitment to address remote housing needs in the Northern Territory and $1.7 billion through our primary health care model. Our veteran centric reform package will continue with a planned additional $112 million in this Budget, as will our support for ongoing veterans’ mental health and employment initiatives. Finally, every dollar and every cent committed to delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme remains in place and always will.

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Our new five year hospitals agreement, which is being signed onto by the States and Territories, will deliver $30 billion in additional funding, a one third increase over the previous five years. And following last year’s Budget, funding for Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme or PBS has been guaranteed in legislation. This Budget includes an extra $1.4 billion for listings on the PBS, including medicines to treat spinal muscular atrophy, breast cancer, refractory multiple myeloma, and relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, as well as a new medicine to prevent HIV. Lifeline Australia will receive additional support as will funding for Mental Health Research, with $125 million over 10 years from the Medical Research Future Fund.

The Government will also provide $20.9 million to support parents and infants by funding tests for new conditions and ensure that debilitating conditions are picked up at the earliest opportunity. The Government will provide $154 million to promote active and healthy living, including $83 million to improve existing community sport facilities, and to expand support for the Sporting Schools and Local Sporting Champions programs.

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Just because you are getting older does not mean you should have to surrender your dignity or your choices. We’re living longer. It’s a good thing. We want to preserve and increase the choices of older Australians. To support the choice of older Australians who wish to stay at home and avoid going into residential aged care the Government will be increasing the number of home care places by 14,000 over 4 years at a cost of $1.6 billion. By 2021-22, over 74,000 high level home care places will be available, an increase of 86 per cent on 2017-18. We will also be providing $146 million to improve access to aged care services in rural, regional and remote Australia. We will also provide $83 million for increased support for mental health services in residential aged care facilities, especially to combat depression and loneliness.

 

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