The October 2022-23 Federal Budget is the second Federal Budget for 2022 and the first budget for the new Albanese government. This is an interim Budget and will be followed by another Budget in May 2023.
MS Australia’s analysis of this interim Budget is through the lens of the two areas of fundamental need for people living with MS – firstly, better treatments, prevention and ultimately, a cure for the disease and secondly improved support for management and care, particularly through systemic improvements to the health care, disability and aged care sectors.
The Budget included an allocation of $1.4 billion over four years for new and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) including from 1 August 2022 diroximel fumarate (Vumerity®) for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. This listing was previously announced by Minister Butler in August 2022.
Further information regarding medications for MS, including Vumerity®, can be found here.
There is also an allocation of $787.1 m over four years to decrease the general patient co-payment for treatments on the PBS from $42.50 to $30.00 from 1 January 2023.
Support for people living with a disability
The Budget included a range of measure to support people living with disability and their families, including:
- $32.2 m to improve disability access in the community through the building of 400 new ‘Changing Places’ toilets for people with high support needs
- $3.6 m to extend the National Disability Research Partnership to 30 June 2025
- $19.4 m to extend Disability Employment Services (DES) for two years while work is undertaken to build an improved model for disability employment
- $0.6 m in 2022–23 to expand residential accommodation for people with disability at Jindelara Cottage in Ulladulla, New South Wales
- $10.3 m to expand the Sport4All program to help engage people with disability in community sport
- 20,000 additional university places for underrepresented groups including students with disability
Support for Older People with a Disability
The Budget includes an allocation of $53.5 m for 12 months from 1 January 2023 to extend the Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) Program to 31 December 2023. The DSOA program supports older people with disability who received specialist disability services from the Continuity of Support Programme, but are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Earlier this year, the government announced that aged care facilities would be required to have a registered nurse onsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week from 1 July 2023, and 215 minutes of care per resident per day from 1 October 2024. This has now been supported by an allocation of $2.5 billion over four years. Further aged care funding includes:
- $5 m to the Maggie Beer Foundation to help train aged care staff on how to source, prepare and serve more nutritious and appetising food
- $9.9 m over two years to establish the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner to ensure aged care complaints are properly and thoroughly dealt with
- $38.7 m to establish an Inspector-General of Aged Care to target systemic issues, provide independent oversight of the aged care system and make recommendations directly to Government
- $3.6 m to establish a national registration scheme and code of conduct for personal care workers in the aged care sector
The Government has previously supported a pay rise for aged care workers through its submission on the Aged Care Work Value Case to the Fair Work Commission. The Budget included an announcement that the Government will provide funding to support any resulting increases to award wages.
On 18 October 2022, the Government announced an independent NDIS Review to be led by a panel of experts and people with disability to create a roadmap for improving the NDIS, rebuilding community trust and ensuring the scheme’s sustainability so that future generations receive the benefit of the NDIS. The Budget includes $18.1 m over two years to support the review. In addition, the Budget includes the following allocations to support the NDIS:
- $385 m to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) for operational funding to support NDIS participants
- $158.2 m for an additional 380 permanent staff for the NDIA to ensure it can better support people with disability and their families, carers and disability service providers
- $137.7 m to establish a Fraud Fusion Taskforce to strengthen fraud detection and better safeguard the NDIS from fraud
- $11.2 m over four years for Disability Representative Organisations to further existing support for systemic disability advocacy
- $21.2 m for NDIS Appeals providers to support people with disability and their families with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) appeals process
- $12.4 m to introduce an expert review pathway to resolve disputes arising from NDIA decisions, reduce the number of appeals to the AAT, and provide better and earlier outcomes for NDIS participants. This includes $6.6 m for participants to access advocacy and legal assistance
- No new funding in the next two years for the grants programs of NHMRC, MRFF or ARC, despite rising inflation making the cost of undertaking research more expensive.
- A $2.9 billion package to drive an innovative revamp of Australia’s primary health care system including $100 m to co-develop and pilot innovative models with states and territories to improve care pathways and inform program roll out.