2016 budget will make it hard for poor to stay well

Released on 3rd May 2016

cohealth Chief Executive, Lyn Morgain, expressed disappointment that the 2016 Federal Budget fails to invest in the vital health and social infrastructure required to deliver the jobs,
growth and prosperity that have been so clearly prioritised by the Turnbull Government.

“The 2016 Budget has failed to deliver any significant investment across the key areas of public health, primary healthcare, mental health and preventative health – investments we know are vital to maximising people’s health and ability to participate economically”Morgain said.

“There is enough evidence now that acknowledges that additional investment into non-hospital health services – including community health, health promotion, and primary care organisations – is required to ensure maximum benefit is derived from a government’s health spend.”

“We are particularly concerned about the continued pause on Medicare indexation, and believe that this effectively amounts to the introduction of a co-payment by stealth.”

Ms Morgain identified a number of areas of particular concern such as cutting pensions and carers benefits, and reviewing the eligibility of those currently receiving the Disability SupportPension, whilst also noting the lack of investment in homelessness, access to legal services and programs to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and well being.

“We know that health is a product of people’s social and economic circumstances and this Budget does nothing to ensure people on low incomes are given the best possible chance of achieving good health.”

Expanding measures that reduce individuals control over their lives, such as new rental arrangements and use of welfare cards that are known to adversely effect the capacity of people to manage their own lives is ill-conceived and will backfire . For people with chronic health conditions this is particularly problematic.

“The evidence is unequivocal that a nation’s overall growth and prosperity depends on reducing inequality and ensuring that the most marginalised and vulnerable are not left behind. If the Turnbull Government is serious about delivering on it’s job and growth agenda for Australia then it must pay more attention to supporting the health and social circumstances of all Australians – something that this Budget, sadly, fails to do.”

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