May 11, 2021

6 key takeaways of the 2021 federal budget: How it affects aged care

Federal budget

He continued in his opening speech: “In the face of a once‑in‑a‑century pandemic, the Australian spirit has shone through.

“Doctors and nurses on the frontline. Teachers and students in the virtual classroom. Businesses, big and small, keeping the economy moving. ‘Team Australia’ at its best. A nation to be proud of. We have come so far since the height of the pandemic. On the health front, the catastrophic loss of life seen elsewhere was averted.”

When referring to the unprecedented support from the National Cabinet, which has seen the country through the biggest global economic shock since the Great Depression, Frydenberg said: “… additional payments went to millions of pensioners, carers, veterans, and others on income support.”

Here are the 6 key takeaways from the 2021 Federal Budget and how it affects the aged care sector.

1. Aged care

Acknowledging the Prime Minister’s Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Frydenberg admitted, “It revealed shocking cases of neglect and abuse.”

The Treasurer announced:

  • “We commit $17.7 billion in practical and targeted new funding to significantly improve the system;
  • “We will fund another 80,000 new home care packages, bringing the total to 275,000 home care packages available;
  • “We will increase the time nurses and carers are required to spend with residents;
  • “We will make an additional payment of $10 per resident per day to enhance the viability and sustainability of the residential aged care sector;
  • “We will support over 33,000 new training places for personal carers, and a new Indigenous workforce;
  • “We will provide retention bonuses to keep more nurses in aged care;
  • “We will increase access for respite services for carers;
  • “We will strengthen the regulatory regime to monitor and enforce standards of care;
  • “We will upgrade essential aged care infrastructure in regional and remote areas.”

Frydenberg added, “This package brings our record investment in aged care to over $119 billion over the next four years.

“We are committed to restoring trust in the system and allowing Australians to age with dignity and respect.”

2. Keep Australians safe from COVID

The Treasurer declared that “our first priority is to keep Australians safe from COVID”.

“In this Budget, a further $1.9 billion is allocated for the rollout of vaccines.

“Australians have already received over 2.5 million doses.

“This Budget provides another $1.5 billion for COVID‑related health services, including for testing and tracing, respiratory clinics and tele-health.

“In total the Morrison Government has committed $20 billion to the vaccine rollout and to strengthen our health system in response to COVID.”

3. Tax relief for hard-working Australians

Following the pandemic, Frydenberg stated that “Australia’s economic recovery is now well underway, and we must keep the momentum going”.

While he admitted “this pandemic is not over”, he announced that “over 10 million low‑ and middle‑income earners will benefit from a new and additional tax cut”.

“Low‑ and middle‑income earners will receive up to $1,080 for individuals or $2,160 for couples.

“More of their money in their pockets to spend across the economy, creating jobs,” the Treasurer added.

“Under the Coalition, taxes will always be lower and hard‑working families better off.

“… 8 out of 10 jobs are in the private sector. A sustainable recovery requires a strong private sector.”

4. Guaranteeing essential services

Along with aged care, Frydenberg confirmed that the Government will be providing record funding for schools, hospitals, Medicare, mental health and disability support in this budget.

“Since coming to Government, we have listed more than 2,600 medicines on the PBS, an average of one each day.

“This has put life‑changing treatments within the reach of every Australian.

“In this Budget, we fund new medicines to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, severe osteoporosis and asthma.”

The Treasurer also confirmed the listing of a life-changing medicine called Emgality for chronic migraines – which usually costs $6,800 per year for treatment – and will now cost just $41.30 a script, or only $6.60 for concession card holders.

Other health concerns that will be given funding in the new budget include endometriosis, research into pre‑term birth and genetic testing for pregnant women.

“The Government is committed to ensuring Australians can access quality medical services no matter where they live,” Frydenberg said.

“That is why this Budget will provide higher incentives to rural and regional GPs for bulk-billed services, helping to keep more doctors in the regions.”

5. “NDIS has made Australia a better country”

Frydenberg stated that the NDIS is, “Profoundly improving the lives of people with disability and their families.”

He added, “A new wheelchair, home modifications, care in the home and transport to work…

“A total of 450,000 people in Australia are currently receiving disability support. In the last year alone, more than 100,000 have joined the scheme.”

The Treasurer confirmed the coalition “will spend a further $13.2 billion over four years to meet the needs of Australians with disability”.

6. Mental health

Frydenberg shared, “Everybody listening tonight knows someone struggling with their mental health.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death in those aged 18 to 44.

“Tragically, over 65,000 of our fellow Australians attempt to take their own lives each year.

“These are not just statistics on a page but family, friends and colleagues.”

He continued that in every budget, the government has committed more resources to frontline services, including BeyondBlue, Lifeline and Kidshelpline, and confirmed that they will be extending their support with a $2.3 billion commitment to mental health care and suicide prevention.

Furthermore, there will be additional Headspace centres to support more young Australians, as well as better access to psychiatrists, psychologists and GPs through Medicare, and universal access to care for people who have been discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt.

He also announced, “A new National Suicide Prevention Office,” and that, as the Prime Minister has declared, they will establish a Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicide.

“We have nearly doubled spending on mental health since we came to office. It is a clear national priority,” he added.

“It goes to the heart of who we are as Australians, helping those who need it most.”

What do you think of the 2021 Federal Budget breakdown? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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  1. Aged Care needs another 7 billion. The mental healthcare system is completely broken. The NDIS is being ‘razor’ ganged. Underemployment is at a record high and wages are not keeping pace with inflation. People without work are being asked to apply for 20 jobs that 39 other people want. Scotty from marketing makes everything look good. Unfortunately too many people have lost faith in the product.

    1. No government ever speaks of the real number of under employed people. How are they going to prove extra minutes with the elderly have happened? Does it mean we will be getting funded for more staff? Because that us the only way residents will get the extra time spent with them. So we just fill out a form I suppose like the 5 minute massages that were dumped onto us AINs to cover the lack of physios? Not to mention the Medication dumped on us as well while trying to assist residents! Whether it was done or not? Saves Private Aged Care facilities heaps when staff don’t have any extra time and are lying about the time spent with a resident. Always short staffed 4 to 6 per day off sick or on holidays and never replaced with staff even though they knew months ago staff were taking holidays. Just pick up shifts now. Good luck. What time do AINs have to spend with anyone to hold their hand and chat with them. To look at pictures with them. It just doesn’t happen! So far the whole throwing money at rich aged care facilities sounds like BS! At least there will be more home care packages. Good luck finding staff! No mention of a pay rise to show respect to the mostly women working in this industry. My place will love this budget as theybwill have $$$$ thrown at them!

  2. This budget sounds glossy but is very short on detail. It does not sufficiently explain the how and when of many of it promises.

    1. Aged Care…aged care nurses need to be paid appropriately. Retention bonuses will not stop the staff shortages in aged care. Fly by night training organisations training carers over 6 weeks do not deliver high quality staff. How on earth are they going to regulate ” more time with residents”. This is all smoke and mirrors. Just reinforcing an already broken system and giving more money to profiteering providers.

    2. There are no psychiatrists in regional areas. How are they going to ensure access to professional help? Where is the funding for nurse practitioners to fill this gap?

    3. Domestic Violence is an epidemic in Australian society. Women andchildren need access to safe housing and support. Where is the funding for this?

    4. Where is the support for affordable housing? It is a national crisis and Australia’s shame that every night many families and older women are sleeping in cars because they cannot afford rents.

  3. Most importantly it will be more about ‘how’ the money will be spent. As an aged care manager I still don’t think the government really understands what the actual problems are. There is no point in a band aid fix.

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