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Catholic Health calls for a 'spend and save' budget

The coming Federal Budget must focus on meeting the urgent health and ageing needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable people, according to Catholic Health Australia (CHA) CEO Francis Sullivan.

He said: "With the Government is signalling that more consumer charges will constitute the future of health and aged care funding, a compulsory savings mechanism must be put in place, not for retirement income, but for the provision of aged care services."

A statement released yesterday details CHA's advocacy of the development of "social capital for the future" through a community sector capital loans program that will ensure the building of necessary residential care facilities.

It outlines recommended budget initiatives that have been costed by Access Economics with identified financing options.

The initiatives include a Medicare Grey Card ($250 million) to expand the options for access to timely treatment for older Australians, and a Quality of Life Package ($465 million) to ensure providers are able to maintain high quality service and standards for elderly and highly vulnerable people. The third priority - a Nursing Support Package ($50 million) - would help address the critical and worsening shortage of nurses available to provide essential care.

Mr Sullivan said: "These priorities are the highlight of a series of initiatives, which include Medicare, general practice, nursing, dental health, aged care, transitional care, dementia care, mental health, palliative care and chronic illness, totalling $1.165 billion."

Catholic Health Australia

CHA calls for a 'spend and save' budget (media release)

13 Mar 2002