A $1.1 billion funding package is in the offering to protect against the widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the package will be allocated to expanding Medicare subsidies for telehealth services, with finances also allocated to mental health services and counselling services for families caught up in, or at risk of, domestic violence and emergency food relief.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said more support would be rolling out immediately to deal with the secondary effects of the health and economic crisis caused by coronavirus.
Medicare telehealth services
To provide continued access to essential primary health services during the coronavirus pandemic, $669 million will be provided to expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians, with extra incentives to GPs and other health practitioners also delivered.
This will see Australians not incur any out-of-pocket costs for consults done over the phone or on video with health professionals like GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Providing the opportunity to get health services via phone or videoconferencing is a key weapon in the fight against coronavirus. This will take pressure off hospitals and emergency departments and allow people to access essential health services in their home, while supporting self-isolation and quarantine policies.
Domestic violence support
An initial $150 million will be provided to support Australians experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence due to the fallout from coronavirus.
Mental health support
An initial $74 million will be provided to support the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.
The government’s digital mental health portal, Head to Health, will be a single source of authoritative information and guidance on how to maintain good mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and in self-isolation, how to support children and loved ones, and how to access further mental health services and care.
The National Cabinet will meet again on Sunday to discuss the country’s next moves.
For further information click here.