The Australian Government has continued its focus on Indigenous Australia in this year’s budget. Many people who are issue or thematic area related may miss the total picture around investments being made with the primary focus on closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia. The 2018/19 budget is very much about two core areas – Health and Ageing alongside economic development. Within each area will be a series of reforms. For example, reform to the current Community Development Programme and arrangements around housing and remote areas.
In Health and Ageing the scene is set for an emphasis on both ends of the age spectrum – preventative health of younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the elderly. This is a breakdown of some of the cross-portfolio announcements:
Health and Ageing:
A total of $10 billion over the decade and forward estimates with $3.9 billion over the next four years.
Ear health, additional hearing assessments for pre-school children will receive a $30 million boost while the eye health program will see a further $34.3 million.
A jobs package has been announced to boost employment in the health sector with GP’s to receive incentives of $33.4 million dollars to employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers and practitioners.
Importantly the growing challenge of elders is starting to be address with an investment of $105 million when it comes to better access to aged care. Importantly the focus will be on a design framework that is centred around a more integrated, transparent and responsive funding model. The latter will be one of the larger challenges in terms of what a model might look like with the additional need for cultural awareness and inclusion in its design.
Economic development and employment:
A further $5 billion for the Indigenous Advancement Strategy – engineered to increase participation of Indigenous people in the economy
Reform of the Community Development Programme targeting the creation of 6,000 new jobs in regional and remote Australia
Reform of the $2 billion land and sea future fund with a focus on remote housing initiative for the Northern Territory (4550 million)
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