Federal Budget stops short of delivering key reforms needed in healthcare

1 April 2022

The RACP says the Federal Budget is disappointing and doesn’t provide the funding needed to support vital parts of the healthcare system and Australia’s future.

The RACP also says it’s been a missed opportunity to help children in particular recover from the setbacks from the pandemic.

While the Government has done good work developing national strategies and responses on children’s mental health, aged care, primary care and preventive health – all areas which have suffered major COVID-19 setbacks – the Budget fails to provide the funding needed to put them into action.

In response to these focus areas, RACP President-elect Dr Jacqueline Small says:


Indigenous health

“We echo the comments made by NACCHO that ‘business as usual’ is not going to close the health gap and call on the Federal Government to increase funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations for the delivery of primary healthcare services for Indigenous people. Issues that matter to Indigenous leaders must be to prioritise and expand the provision of sustainable long-term funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) for the delivery of primary healthcare services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Climate change

“The Budget falls far short of providing a comprehensive response to the health impacts of climate change, even as communities deal with devastating floods and others are still recovering from horrific bushfires. Following the recent devastating floods, the RACP led 10 medical colleges representing over 100,000 medical specialists calling for a climate ready and climate friendly healthcare system by developing climate change adaptation and resilience plans.”

Child health/Kids COVID Catch Up

“COVID-19 has overturned many parts of children’s lives that are crucial for their healthy development such as social connections, education, and extracurriculars. While we welcome funding for specific youth mental health programs, overall, we needed to see more for investment in our children and young people to help them to catch up from the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders from across the political spectrum must commit to a package of policy and funding measures to help our kids catch up.”

Funding for health workforce

“The pandemic has shown what that we need a strong, well-resourced healthcare system. Last night’s budget is a missed opportunity to urgently invest in responses to long-standing structural challenges. The public health workforce in particular has been provided with minimal funding that is insufficient to deliver the healthcare that Australians want and need.” 

Telehealth and regional care 

“We welcome important investment in regional healthcare, with $296 million as part of the Government’s commitment to permanent and universal telehealth. However, it still remains unclear whether or not this includes funding for phone telehealth items for specialist care. This will be vital in ensuring equity and access to specialist care for people in regional and remote areas – as well as those living with a disability, the elderly, those with less advanced technical knowledge, and some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Medication expansion

“We welcome the expansion of the national Take Home Naloxone (THN) program through a $19.6 million investment which is making the opioid overdose-reversing medication available at no cost and without a prescription, in all Australian states and territories.”


“We are pleased to see $11m funding for prioritising improved care for people with dust-related diseases which the RACP has strongly advocated for.”


The RACP’s pre-budget submission can be found here: https://www.racp.edu.au/docs/default-source/advocacy-library/2022-2023-pre-budget-submission-to-the-australian-government-treasury.pdf?sfvrsn=69d1c91a_6

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