The Government has committed $9.4 billion to build capacity and capability to support the health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government has prioritised the protection of Australians, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with chronic conditions from COVID-19.
The Government has helped protect the health of Australians through the urgent purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other essential equipment for the National Medical Stockpile. The Government is also investing in finding a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19, as well as better preparing for future pandemics.
The Government has boosted Australia’s testing capacity to meet the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, including by establishing dedicated Medicare-funded pathology tests and dedicated respiratory clinics, with coverage of around 97 per cent of the population.
The Government is also providing $3.7 billion to build our hospital system capacity for the COVID-19 response, including the National Partnership Agreement on COVID-19 to fund half of the costs incurred by the states and territories in diagnosing and treating patients with COVID-19 and minimising the spread of the disease as well as the partnership to harness private hospital capacity.
In addition, over 6.7 million people have downloaded the Government’s COVIDSafe App, which helps support health workers in their contact tracing.
To ensure access to essential health services, the Government has enabled whole-of-population Medicare subsidised telehealth services and provided $619.1 million to support bulk billing and
$54.8 million for additional support to enable GPs to continue to provide essential face-to-face medical services.
The Government has also provided $122.1 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the National Partnership Agreement on COVID 19, the Government is investing $131.4 billion in Commonwealth funding for Australia’s public hospitals, an increase of 30 per cent over the previous five years, through the 2020-25 National Health Reform Agreement.
The Government is also providing $18.3 billion in new and existing funding over the next five years to ensure quality pharmaceutical services through the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement.
The Government will continue to do what it takes to deliver the essential services on which Australians rely and to ensure a strong recovery.