Big jump in My Health Record from 2019 to 2020

Whether it was due to natural disaster or the COVID-19 lockdowns and closed state borders, many patients couldn’t see their healthcare provider face-to-face.

This is when My Health Record really shines and healthcare providers can access their patients’ important medical information such as test results, medications and hospital discharge summaries anywhere, anytime.

Independent Clinical Advisor to the Australian Digital Health Agency, Dr Steve Hambleton, said more and more healthcare workers were realising the practical benefits of digital health.

“I want hospitals and specialists to have rapid access to relevant information about my patients when they are caring for them, and as a GP, when a patient comes back to see me having been discharged from hospital or with a report from a specialist, I value what those hospitals and specialists share and upload to My Health Record for the ongoing care I provide,” he said.

From July 2019 to June 2020:

  • the number of documents uploaded by GPs and viewed by others has risen to 187,000, a 165 per cent increase.
  • GPs viewed 416,000 documents uploaded by others, an increase of more than 250 per cent
  • the number of documents uploaded by public hospitals and viewed by other healthcare providers has risen to 322,000, an increase of nearly 300 per
  • Public hospitals viewed 271,000 documents uploaded by others, an increase of more than 300 per

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4808″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said “Over the last 12 months it’s been great to see the increases in clinically helpful data in the system and the sharing and viewing by health professionals.

“My Health Record provides the repository for consumers’ health data and a great way for them to safely and securely engage with their healthcare providers.

“I encourage people to log into their My Health Record and ensure their information including allergies, medicines, immunisations, and any pathology reports has been uploaded.

“This will give you peace of mind, knowing that in an emergency situation, information like your medications and allergies are rapidly available to medical staff.

“It can make a significant difference to health outcomes and assist medical staff in diagnosis and treatment.”

Key statistics July 2019 to June 2020:

  • Total number of My Health Records in Australia increased by 230,000, from 22.55 million to 22.78
  • Total number of records with data in them increased from 10.08 million to 19.41 million, a nearly 93 per cent increase.
  • Number of health documents in the My Health Record system has risen from 1.3 billion to 2.09 billion over the financial year. Clinical documents, uploaded by hospitals, pathologists or radiologists, have risen from 23 million to 75
  • Medicine documents, uploaded by pharmacies and GPs, have risen from 56 million to 143
  • Immunisation documents in the system have gone from 4.8 million to 15
  • Organ donor registrations have gone from one million to 1.5
  • Pharmacies registered with My Health Record have risen from 88 per cent to 99 per cent. GPs registered have risen from 86 per cent to 93 per cent. Public hospitals have risen from 75 per cent to 95
  • Pathology reports in My Health Record have gone from 13 million to 53
  • Diagnostic imaging reports have risen from 2.6 million to 8.2
  • Dispense records have risen from 27 million to 82 million.

Former Intensive Care Registrar at Armidale Health Service in Western Australia, Rowan Ellis, attests to the benefits of My Health Record: “We had a patient who presented as critically unwell and intensive care staff were asked to review the patient,” he said.

“It became apparent that they had been treated recently at a different hospital and we didn’t have access to their records, so we hopped onto My Health Record and found all the necessary discharge summary information details of their specialist who we then contacted directly to discuss their care. We then arranged transfer out to the hospital where they were already receiving ongoing treatment.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

ACN endorses Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework

“There is no denying the delivery of health care is changing, in large part due to technological advances,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.

“Digital health has the potential to bring about vast improvements in how healthcare is delivered, where people can access quality care, and health outcomes. This potential can only be realised if we have a workforce that is ready to adopt digital health tools and services and maximise the benefits.

“The goal of the Capability Framework is to ensure the nursing workforce can confidently utilise digital health technologies.”

ACN was represented on the Framework’s Advisory Committee by Adjunct Associate Professor Naomi Dobroff FACN, Chair of the ACN Nurse Informatics Community of Interest and Aaron Jones, Chair of the ACN Chief Nursing Information Officer Community of Interest.

“This work gives everyone involved in healthcare a guide as to the skills and knowledge nurses and midwives need to deliver health in a digital world,” Adjunct Professor Dobroff explained.

“I am particularly pleased a Framework specific to nurses and midwives has been developed not only because our profession makes up over 50 per cent of Australia’s health workforce, but because it recognises the leadership role nurses and midwives have.

“Nurses and midwives play a critical role in ensuring that clinical information and communication systems are designed and used to deliver high quality, coordinated care to Australians across all aspects of the patient journey.

“The Framework outlines the capabilities each of us as individual professionals, our workplaces and our educational organisations, such as ACN, who are required to extend our digital health development to develop all nurses.”

Reflecting the nursing profession’s enthusiasm for adoption of technology and innovation, the Australian College of Nursing has added a specific digital health unit to some of its Nursing Graduate Certificate courses. Learning outcomes include being able to appraise how clinical communication occurs in a digitalised health care system.

“In terms of technology take-up, nurses are vital, but more importantly we need nurses to take a leadership role, which is a domain in the Framework, in order to make sure digital health successfully enhances patient care,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

“Technology cannot replicate the complex and holistic care provided by nurses, but it can help expand the profession’s scope of practice and delivery of best practice care to all Australians.

“Nurses provide care all day, every day, across every care setting and are best placed to assist in reimagining the delivery of healthcare aided by technology.

“Therefore, we commend the Framework and look forward to playing a role in making sure it inspires broader digital expertise within the nursing profession by providing free online educational resources at the foundational level of learning to all nurses and midwives on the ACN website next year.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


“The Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has described the expansion of telehealth as a ‘revolution in the delivery of primary care’ which we strongly support,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the strength, and the opportunities for more public investments to improve Australia’s health system.

“It has shown the link between the health of the community and of the economy is inextricable.

“Telehealth has been stimulated by the pandemic to trigger easier and safe access to doctors and we look forward to further developments after the six month extension to March 2021 expires.

The telehealth disruption shows that transformative change is possible in healthcare and we hold great ambition for the scope of services that will be possible under the 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan currently in development.

“But the pandemic has also shown up the dramatic failings of the aged care system that has brought too many avoidable deaths and too much suffering.

“The lesson for Australia should be that we need to invest much more in a publicly-funded and effectively regulated system.

“The Government says it is making a record investment in health over four years of $467 billion, up by $32 billion on last year’s figures.

“It is to spend $2.4 billion on telehealth a development that just nine months ago would have seemed unbelievable.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


There has never been a more dangerous time than the COVID-19 pandemic for people with non- communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer, respiratory problems or cardiovascular conditions, new UNSW Sydney research has found.

Among the adverse impacts of the pandemic for people with NCDs, the study found they are more vulnerable to catching and dying from COVID-19, while their exposure to NCD risk factors – such as substance abuse, social isolation and unhealthy diets – has increased during the pandemic.

The researchers also found COVID-19 disrupted essential public health services which people with NCDs rely on to manage their conditions.

The study, published in Frontiers in Public Health recently, reviewed the literature on the synergistic impact of COVID-19 on people with NCDs in low and middle-income countries such as Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Nigeria.

The paper, which analysed almost 50 studies, was a collaboration between UNSW and public health researchers in Nepal, Bangladesh and India.

Lead author Uday Yadav, PhD candidate under Scientia Professor Mark Harris of UNSW Medicine, said the interaction between NCDs and COVID-19 was important to study because global data showed COVID-19-related deaths were disproportionally high among people with NCDs – as the UNSW researchers confirmed.

“This illustrates the negative effect of the COVID-19 ‘syndemic’ – also known as a ‘synergistic epidemic’ – a term coined by medical anthropologist Merrill Singer in the 1990s to describe the relationship between HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and violence,” Mr Yadav said.

“We applied this term to describe the interrelationship between COVID-19 and the various biological and socio-ecological factors behind NCDs.

“So, people are familiar with COVID-19 as a pandemic, but we analysed it through a syndemic lens in order to determine the impact of both COVID-19 and future pandemics on people with NCDs.”

Mr Yadav said the COVID-19 syndemic would persist, just as NCDs affected people in the long-term.

“NCDs are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors and there is no quick fix, such as a vaccine or cure,” he said.

“So, it’s no surprise we found that NCD patients’ exposure to NCD risk factors has increased amid the pandemic, and they are more vulnerable to catching COVID-19 because of the syndemic interaction between biological and socio-ecological factors.

“The evidence we analysed also showed there was poor self-management of NCDs at a community level and COVID-19 has disrupted essential public health services which people with NCDs rely on.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Medtronic recently announced statistically significant 12-month results from a large, multi-centre randomised controlled trial (RCT) that demonstrated the importance of DTM Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) in providing backpain relief, compared with conventional SCS therapy, using the Medtronic Intellis platform.

At 12 months, 84% of patients with chronic back pain treated with DTM SCS reported at least 50% pain relief, compared to 51% of patients treated with conventional SCS(p=0.0005).

There was also a difference in the proportion of patients who reported profound back pain relief (>80% reduction in VAS score) favouring DTM SCS (69%) compared with conventional SCS (35.1%). The study met its primary endpoint at three months, and in pre-specified secondary analysis showed the importance of DTM SCS compared to conventional SCS and has sustained these results at 12 months.

Pain relief was measured by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS), a widely used and accepted measure for pain intensity that records patient-reported pain levels on a scale of 0-10. Fifty-percent pain relief, as measured by VAS, is a recognised industry standard to define therapy success. The majority of DTMS SCS patients in the study exceeded the threshold, with seven out of ten experiencing profound back pain relief at 12 months.

Patients treated with DTM SCS also reported an average VAS score reduction of 75% in back pain, compared with 50% treated with conventional SCS. Average VAS scores for patients treated with DTM SCS at 12 months were 1.74 for back pain and 1.45 for leg pain.1 The term remitter has previously been used to classify patients with a pain score of 2.5 or less. 1 As a group, patients in the DTM SCS group clearly fell below this level with a mean VAS score of 1.74 for back pain and 1.4 for leg pain.

Richard Sullivan at Precision Brain, Spine and Pain and the Director at Large for the International Neuromodulation Society was among the first Australian physicians to gain experience with this programming paradigm.

“The 12 month data from Medtronic’s DTM SCS study puts this therapy ahead of other treatments in managing post-surgery back pain,” said Dr Richard Sullivan. “As such spinal cord stimulation should now become the standard therapy in this condition once spinal stability is confirmed. My personal experience in using DTM SCS therapy for patients in this situation is consistent with these outstanding study results.”

“DTM SCS is based on a novel understanding of how neurons and glial cells contribute to chronic pain,” said Charlie Covert, vice president and general manager of the Pain Therapies business, part of the Restorative Therapies Group at Medtronic. “The 12 month data reported demonstrate the value of Medtronic’s continued focus on pursuing science-based approaches to improving human health and underscore our ability to integrate existing technologies with novel therapies like DTM SCS to improve the outcomes of people suffering from chronic pain.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


The new survey of 7000-plus Australians also suggests a lack of awareness about automated external defibrillators. Nearly one in three people had never heard of the lifesaving device often found in public places such as shopping centres, schools and gyms.

The Heart Foundation has released its results on Restart a Heart Day to spread the word that anyone can use an AED to help save a life, without fear they will cause greater harm to the patient.

Early CPR and access to a defibrillator can significantly increase your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest, which is when a person’s heart stops beating. The patient will become unconscious and stop breathing normally, or at all.

A defibrillator checks the heart rhythm and can apply a measured electric shock to restore the heart to its normal rhythm. It will only deliver a shock if necessary, which means you cannot hurt someone by using a defibrillator.

The key findings of this year’s survey of 7200 Australian adults include:

  • 52% would not feel confident using an AED if they thought someone was having a cardiac arrest, while 41% would feel confident.
  • 60% had heard of an AED; 32% had not; and 8% were unsure.
  • Women were less likely to feel confident about using an AED than men (38% versus 45%).
  • Young adults were more likely to feel confident about using an AED than older Australians.

Heart Foundation General Manager of Heart Health, Bill Stavreski, urged Australians not to feel hesitant about using the lifesaving device in an emergency.
There’s a fear factor around defibrillators, but they are designed to be user-friendly and you don’t need to have medical training to help save a life.
“The step-by-step recorded instructions will guide you, and even if it turns out the person is not having a cardiac arrest, using the AED will not hurt them.”

Few people will survive a cardiac arrest without immediate treatment. About 25,000 people have a cardiac arrest out of hospital each year in Australia, but it is estimated as few as 5% will survive to be discharged from hospital.

“You should call 000 for an ambulance immediately if you think someone is in cardiac arrest. Check for a response and if they are breathing. If they aren’t, use an AED if one is available. If not, start CPR with chest compressions – you don’t need to use mouth-to-mouth if you are not comfortable,” Mr Stavreski said.

“Bystanders can be reluctant to step in if they haven’t been trained in CPR, but any attempt at resuscitation is better than none. Time is everything, because for every minute without defibrillation to restart the heart, chances of surviving drop by 10 per cent.”

Three in four cardiac arrests are caused by heart events, such as a heart attack, or underlying heart conditions.

We encourage more Australians to learn what action they can take to save someone’s life, including learning the signs of cardiac arrest and how to perform CPR, but we can all also take pre-emptive action to protect our own heart health.

“If you are 45 years and over, or from 30 if you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, talk to your GP about a Heart Health Check to understand your risk of heart disease.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


With authors from RPA (Royal Prince Alfred) Virtual Hospital and Sydney Local Health District (SLHD), the latest Perspectives Brief from AHHA’s Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research, rpavirtual: a new way of caring, was released this week.

“Established as the first virtual hospital in NSW, rpavirtual was launched in early 2020 as a sustainable solution to increasing demand for healthcare in Sydney—and then the COVID-19 crisis hit”, said RPA Virtual Hospital General Manager Miranda Shaw.

“Expanding on existing digital infrastructure and workforce, rpavirtual was able to implement its COVID-19 model of care in just six days.

“Within 7 months our workforce has grown from six nurses, to a multidisciplinary service of over 50 medical, nursing and allied health teams.

“One of the most remarkable features of rpavirtual has been its ability to pivot to deliver hospital type monitoring in the community using digital innovations, underpinned by robust clinical models of care,” said Ms Shaw.

“Video consults, remote monitoring technologies, escalation pathways and patient access to the Virtual Care Centre 24/7 allows our care teams to identify patient deterioration in a timely manner.

Only 6 % of rpavirtual patients who have tested positive for COVID have required hospital admission, compared to NSW hospitalisation rates of 10%.

There is also the issue of COVID-19 negative patients in quarantine who have needed complex clinical care. In the absence of rpavirtual, these patients would have required hospital presentation and admission.

“This model of virtual care has the potential to cut the number of unnecessary Emergency Department presentations, reduce a patient’s length of stay in hospital, and has the ability to empower patients, especially those with chronic illness, to lead a better quality of life,” said Ms Shaw.

“The experience of a rapidly expanding virtual health service has been eye-opening for many, including for rpavirtual’s Information and Communication services, who have played a critical role in the hospital’s patient-centred, technology-enabled design.”

Ms Verhoeven said patients accept and respond well to comprehensive, supportive care delivered though virtual technologies. The positive benefits experienced through rpavirtual should be considered by governments in the development of virtual care strategies more broadly.

“Patients rightly expect that the positive benefits experienced through virtual healthcare during COVID- 19 will continue now and into the future.”

The rpavirtual: a new way of caring Perspectives Brief is available here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Private health insurance premiums are going up this week. But the reasons why just don’t stack up

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]At a time when many policy-holders are facing financial stress and many elective surgeries or treatments suspended or delayed, this month’s price rise isn’t justified. With a further price rise already set for April 2021, it would be fairer to delay any fee hike until then.

  1. Increasing costs of hospital and health care — false

Costs of hospital and health care paid by private insurers have reduced substantially in 2020, not increased, according to the latest figures from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. That’s because many elective surgeries and routine extra care (such as dental check-ups) were suspended.

Private insurers paid reduced hospital treatment benefits in two consecutive quarters. They dropped 7.9% in dollar terms in the March 2020 quarter, compared with the December 2019 quarter. They fell another 12.9% in the June 2020 quarter, compared with the March 2020 quarter.

Private insurers’ payments for general treatment (also known as ancillary or extras) benefits dropped even more. They fell 32.9% in the June 2020 quarter, compared with the March 2020 quarter.

Some may argue the reduction in benefits paid is because substantially fewer people had private insurance in 2020. But this is not true.

While there was a small drop in the number of people with private health insurance in the first half of 2020, this was by less than a percentage point: the number of hospital memberships fell by only 0.4 percentage points. There was a similar drop in the number of people with extras cover.

  1. Increase in claim frequency — false

Another reason for the price rise is there have been more claims over a given time, or an increase in claim frequency. This, again, is not true this year.

Private insurers paid for 16.7% fewer hospital treatments in the June 2020 quarter compared with the March 2020 quarter. That’s a 4.1% reduction in the 12 months to June 2020.

Private insurers paid out 28.4% fewer extras claims in the June 2020 quarter, compared to the March 2020 quarter. This was a 9.8% fall over the 12 months to June 2020.

In Victoria, services are only gradually returning to full capacity from November. So it will be a long while before claims return to pre-pandemic levels.

People have also been avoiding seeking needed health care because they are afraid of contracting the coronavirus, or cannot afford out-of-pocket costs due to increased financial stress. This would be another reason for the numbers of claims decreasing, not increasing.

  1. More chronic disease, an ageing population — no data supporting this for the next 6 months

In the long run, these claims are correct and premiums should increase gradually over the coming years because of the ageing population and growing incidence of chronic conditions.

However, they’re not likely to change enough in the next six months to justify a premium increase now.

Here’s what should happen

Some insurers are already providing discounts for families in financial hardship, such as people receiving JobSeeker or JobKeeper. Others offer discounts or waive price rises to people who pre-pay their policies for up to 12 months. More insurers should do this.

Providing financial relief and delaying the October premium increase will not only help customers but also help private insurers in the long run.

Increasing premiums twice in six months (October 2020 and April 2021) during an unprecedentedly difficult time can backfire, especially if the reasons to support the increase do not stack up.

When premiums increase, young people are more likely to drop private health insurance. This will drive up premiums further for everyone. This in turn will lead to more young and healthy people dropping their cover.

Consequently, it may cause a “death spiral”, driving private health insurance out of business.[/vc_column_text][vc_zigzag][vc_column_text]

This article originally appeared on

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Treasurer Frydenberg opened his speech by saying ‘The Great Depression and two World Wars did not bring Australia to its knees, neither will COVID-19’.

While this has not been unexpected, the Coalition is relying on job growing policies to drive the post-COVID economy, encouraging people to reskill, small businesses to invest in people and equipment while ensuring people have more money in their pockets to reinvest into the economy.

Personal and business tax cuts round out the major announcements, with significant spending in infrastructure, health and manufacturing also announced.

October’s Budget signals the first of three major economic updates to be presented by the Treasurer in the next eight months, with a traditional Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) scheduled for mid-December and the 2021/22 Budget locked in for May 2021.

Working through key portfolio areas, we have highlighted big-ticket items and critical promises to ease your navigation of a content-heavy time in the election cycle.

A copy of the Treasurer’s 2020 Federal Budget speech can be found here.


COVID-19 has brought the Health portfolio into sharp focus and the 2020/21 Budget continues to expand on the Coalition’s commitment to ensuring Australian’s are healthy during uncertain times.

Mental health was identified by the Treasurer as an area of particular focus along with ensuring supply of personal protective equipment and a future COVID-19 vaccine.

Key announcements include:

  • $16 billion as part of the Government’s ongoing health response to COVID-19 including $808 million for the acquiring of a COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX.
  • the New Medicines Guarantee, ensuring that all new medicines are listed with uncapped funding.
  • $5.7 billion for mental health including increased funding for psychiatric services.
  • $1.6 billion for a further 23,000 additional home care packages.


One of the two pillars of Treasurer’s Budget, infrastructure spending has been brought forward to ensure that there are enough bridges, roads and rail for the Morrison Government’s ‘Road to Recovery’.

Key announcements included:

  • Expansion of the 10-year infrastructure pipeline equating to $14 billion for new and accelerated projects, including $7.53 billion in national transport infrastructure to boost the economy, deliver safer roads and create jobs.
    • In NSW, $2.7 billion in road and rail projects where relevant.
    • In VIC,  $1.1 billion in road and rail projects where relevant.
    • In QLD $1.3 billion in road and rail projects where relevant.
    • In SA, there will be $625.2 million in road and rail projects where relevant.
    • The NT will get $190 million in road and rail projects where relevant.
    • In TAS there will be a $359.6 million in road and rail projects where relevant.
    • The ACT will get $155.3 million in road and rail projects where relevant.
    • WA will get $1.1 billion in road and rail projects where relevant.
  • $355.9 million for additional aviation support.
  • $327.5 million for Perth City Deal.
  • $74.8 million for Darwin City Deal.
  • $2 billion over two years for minor scale road safety projects.
  • $1 billion over two years for the extension of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.
  • $2 billion to assist farmers who have been affected by drought and bushfires.


Building upon the JobMaker package and Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP’s changes to university education, jobs formed one of the Government’s two key pillars for the road to recovery.

Key announcements included:

  • $240 million to encourage female workforce participation including: new cadetships and apprenticeships for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, job creation and entrepreneurialism, and women’s safety at work and at home.
  • 50,000 new higher education short courses in agriculture, health, IT, science and teaching.
  • 12,000 new Commonwealth supported places for higher education in 2021.
  • 2,000 indigenous students through the Clontarf Foundation to complete Year 12 and pursue further education or find employment.


First announced by the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, last Thursday at the National Press Club, industry and advanced manufacturing has been identified as a key aspect of Australia’s economic recovery.

In addition, there have been further announcements on the Research and Development Tax Incentive as well as funding for the CSIRO.

In addition, this week also saw:

  • $1.3 billion manufacturing package, focussing on six key manufacturing priority areas: food and beverage, resources and minerals, medical products, clean energy, defence industry and space industry.
  • $2 billion for additional Research and Development tax incentives – removing the cap on refunds, lifting the rate and rewarding those businesses that invest the most.
  • $459 million in additional funding to the CSIRO.


In addition to the infrastructure and jobs packages, the Government announced measures to ensure that more money remains in the pockets of Australians.

This also included an extension to the Instant Asset Write-Off to ensure small businesses can purchase new and upgrade existing equipment.

Key announcements included:

  • Stage 2 of the previously legislated tax cuts, extending the 19% bracket from $37,000 to $45,000 and the 32.5% bracket from $90,000 to $120,000.
  • $26.7 b for an extension of the Instant Asset Write-Off for business with turnover <$5 billion.
  • Establishment of ‘YourSuper’ designed to reduce waste in the superannuation industry and saving Australians $17.9 billion.


Tourism and Trade took a backseat in this Budget, but the industry was not forgotten, with a specific focus on regional tourism.

Key announcements included:

  • $233 million to upgrade facilities in Uluru, Kakadu, Christmas Island and Booderee National Park.
  • $350 million to support regional tourism to attract domestic visitors back to the regions and a further round of the Building Better Regions Fund.


On 22 September, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, announced that five technologies will receive prioritized support under its Technology Roadmap.

Key announcements included:

  • $18 million will be spent via the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the emissions reduction fund and environmental grants. The targeted government investment will focus on clean hydrogen energy storage, low-carbon steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage and soil carbon.
  • $52.9 million package to tap into Australia’s gas supply.
  • $1.5 billion over four years to sustain and encourage local manufacturing and private investments including clean energy.
  • $40 million funding package and $20 million will be invested in coastal ecosystems under a federal government COVID economy recovery plan.


This week saw the final sitting week before the release of the Federal Budget on 2 April 2019, with a formidable round of Senate Estimates defining the tone on the hill.

Key announcements included:

  • $2.6 billion over three years for two $250 payments to be made from November 2020 and early 2021 for recipients of the age pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Family Tax Benefit, Carer Allowance, Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Holders, eligible Veterans Affair’s payment recipients and health cardholders.
  • $15.6 billion in 2020-21 due to the relaxation of the JobKeeper eligibility requirement, with companies only having to prove their turnover was sufficiently effected in the previous quarter.
  • $4 billion dollars over three years, $200 dollars per week if they hire somebody between 16-29 and $100 per week if they are between 30-35. Employees hired via the subsidy must increase the overall employment of any given business.
  • $2 billion over five years to relax the JobSeeker partner income test taper
  • $798.8 million for quality and safeguards commission over four years, supporting half a million patients on the NDIS.


With the Australian Government reaching and exceeding its goal of 2 per cent of GDP assigned to the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, Defence took a back seat during this year’s Budget:

Key announcements included:

  • $1.5 billion over four years to sustain and encourage local manufacturing and private investments including in defence and space. Defence was also one of the advanced manufacturing areas identified by the Prime Minister as an industry of critical strategic growth.
  • The acquisition of new capabilities represents 40% of the total defence budget in 2020-21, headlined by the Navy’s construction of the Hunter Class Frigates and Attack Class submarines.


Part of the Government’s broader Infrastructure and Regional Development plan, funding commitments for further agriculture and water infrastructure were made in this year’s Budget.

Key announcements included:

  • $2 billion in concessional loans to help farmers overcome the devastating drought
  • $350 million to support regional tourism to attract domestic visitors back to the regions and a further round of the Building Better Regions Fund, and
  • $317 million for Australian exporters to continue to access global supply chains, building on the 80,000 tonnes of exports the government have already helped get to market.
  • $567 million for the Wyangala and Dungowan dams with our investment totalling.
  • $2 billion in new funding to build vital water infrastructure across the country as part of the national water grid including dams, weirs and pipelines.


Other key announcements which cross multiple portfolios included:

  • $201.5 million over four years for the previously announced 2020 Cyber Security Strategy as well as $128 million over four years for AFP, Home Affairs and AUSTRAC.
  • $238 million over the first four years and $39 million in subsequent years for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
  • An additional $129 million for the Relief and Recovery Fund to tackle projects of importance.
  • $796 million for the Digital Business Plan to encourage digital transformation in the private sector.


THis budget analysis and overview Was PROVIDED BY THE TEAM AT NEXUS PUBLIC AFFAIRS.



[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The JobMaker plan has the potential to not only create thousands of jobs but also create the new jobs of the future. The MedTech industry already employs 19,000 innovators, experts, researchers, manufacturers, and medical technicians, and the pro-growth policies set out in this year’s Budget will further support the industry’s growth and capabilities in Australia.

The Budget also addresses the harsh realities of a once in a 100-year global pandemic, which has sadly claimed the lives of 894 of our fellow Australians. However, unlike many other countries around the world, Australia’s successful response in handling the COVID-19 pandemic is thanks, in no small part, to the outstanding collaboration between governments and the MedTech industry which rose to the occasion, supplying 7,500 ventilators, over 7.7 million COVID-19 tests and other essential medical equipment.

In August, MTAA submitted to the Government 18 policy priorities to supercharge Australia’s COVID- 19 recovery. Today we welcome the Government’s adoption of, in full 3 policies and in part, a further 4 policies.

MTAA’s budget submission recommended the Government upgrade the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) IT Systems. With the Morrison Government’s announcement of $12 million, this will now become a reality. The digital transformation of the TGA will ensure that they can fulfil their role, including performing activities such as applications tracking and status transparency. It will also provide information in a usable format and improve the ability to search and link various TGA databases. MTAA CEO, Mr Ian Burgess, said “The TGA IT systems were from 1998, and hampered interactions between the MedTech industry and the TGA. This investment in upgrading the system will ensure the TGA is best able to approve life-changing and lifesaving medical technology innovations.”

The Budget also solidified the Government’s earlier announcement of a comprehensive energy policy. MTAA called on the Government to develop an all-inclusive energy policy with a particular focus on the needs of manufacturing with an aim to provide long term certainty and lower energy costs.

“This Budget provides a solid foundation for energy pricing, we know this could give MedTech manufacturers the prices they need to manufacture lifesaving and life-changing medical devices in Australia,” Mr Burgess said.

The announcement of the $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy is a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to ensuring Aussie Manufacturing, particularly MedTech, can continue to be a global leader.

“More than half of Australian medical device companies have grown from local start-ups, so this budget will make an important impact where it is needed most, shoring up Australia’s MedTech innovators now and into the future,” Mr Burgess said.

The Treasurer also announced home and community-based care reforms allowing alternative care pathways when clinically appropriate. This will include mental health and general rehabilitation services, including orthopaedics. Home and community-based care was a key recommendation in MTAA’s pre-budget submission.

Mr Burgess said “Tonight’s announcement of further support for home and community-based care comes after sustained advocacy from MTAA. MTAA hope the proposed changes will ensure Australian’s can receive the care they need it, where it best suits them.”

This Budget included $3.3 billion for the COVID National Medical Stockpile. MTAA’s Pre-budget Submission recommended government replenish and further build the National Medical Stockpile with a portion of locally manufactured essential items. This includes $9.2 million for increasing onshore mask manufacturing capability.

The Government also announced a total of $2.4 billion in telehealth services. MTAA provided an extensive recommendation to Government calling upon Government to continue to reimburse telehealth services after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

“During COVID-19 the Government asked MedTech to supply 7,500 ventilators, the MedTech industry did this. Today this has been recognised with 7 budget submission recommendations included in this Budget” Mr Burgess said. “This budget will help to improve Australians’ access to innovative Medical Technology.”

MTAA supports the measures the Treasurer has today outlined, which, we believe, will improve Australians access to the best and latest medical technologies they need and can distribute these to the world.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]