One of Australia’s largest community health services, cohealth, says the Federal Budget doesn’t go far enough to improve the lives, and health, of Australians who have the least.
Chief Executive, Nicole Bartholomeusz says that cohealth has been at the forefront of Australia’s COVID response and has seen the impact that the pandemic has had – and continues to have – on communities.
“Many of the people we’re working with are in insecure employment, living week-to-week. We saw a recognition of the financial impact of ill health during the pandemic with payments available to help people isolate. Now we are back to seeing people forced to choose between buying medication and health care, paying the rent or putting food on the table,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
“A one-off cash bonus acknowledges the skyrocketing costs of living for those on lowest incomes. Such support must be maintained to ensure our fellow Australians don’t need to resort to skipping meals and postponing medical treatment,” she said.
Ms Bartholomeusz expressed disappointment that the Budget failed to address the upstream drivers of health, with no change to Centrelink payments, no investment in social housing, and no measures to address the problem of insecure and low-paid employment.
Ms Bartholomeusz said that the Federal Government had missed the opportunity for major investment and reform in areas of responsibility including aged care and primary care.
“It’s time for our national leaders to acknowledge that the current fee-for-service medicine model doesn’t support the integrated, comprehensive care required to support health and wellbeing,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
“As we move towards a federal election, we will continue to amplify the voice of our 30,000 clients to make sure that they can achieve their best health. As a nation we must focus on community repair, not just budget repair.”
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More information: Lanie.Harris@cohealth.org.au or 0418 552 377
About cohealth: cohealth is a not-for-profit community health organisation that provides low-cost and free local health and support services including medical, dental, allied health, mental health, aged care and counselling, and many specialist health services across Melbourne’s CBD, northern and western suburbs as well as statewide.