Federal budget 2015/16

Here are a few of the relevant points from last night’s budget for AOD and mental health.

New way of working for grants
$55.6 million over 3 years to continue front line community services whilst the “New Way of Working for Grants” framework is implemented. 

Illicit drugs campaign
$20 million over 2 years to renew the National Drug Campaign, a media campaign to prevent and encourage people to cease illicit drug use.  No surprises at the documented focus on “ice”.

Streamlining health services

Cuts in funding including cuts to the Health Portfolio Flexible Funds

Plain packaging litigation
Undisclosed amount will be given to defend international legal challenges to the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011,

Sector Development Fund to be transferred to the Department of Social Services from the National Disability Insurance Agency.  NDIA will continue with focus on care packages for individuals.

National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness
Extended to 2017

Domestic violence awareness
Contribution of $16.7 million to the Council of Australian Governments’ planned $30 million awareness campaign 

Stronger relationships trial

Trial, which included $200 vouchers for relationship counselling services, has been discontinued

Department of Human Services/Welfare integrity
$1.7 billion over 5 years for increased fraud prevention, debt recovery and improved assessment processes.
Efficiency review to take place.  Phase-out of cheques and credit EFTPOS in favour of electronic funds transfer for Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefit payments.
Implementation of new Centrelink IT systems.
Young job seekers
The Government will reverse the 2014‑15 Budget measure Stronger Participation Incentives for Job Seekers under 30, requiring a 6 month waiting period for income support and instead require young people under 25 years of age without significant barriers to employment to actively seek work for a four week waiting period.
$212 million of funding allocated to young people at high risk of long term unemployment.

Low income supplement

Continuation of microfinance services including StepUp and No Interest Loan Scheme.

Government not proceeding with Medicare co-payments and redefinition of time requirements for type A and B medical consultations.
Continuation of e-health system. Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) to be renamed My Health Record 

Feel free to add anything I missed in the comments.  There was a small reference to prevention in health, but I will need to investigate more to see what this was about. 


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