The NSW Budget outlined by State Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet on June 19, included funding for NDIS, for health and seniors programs including energy discounts, an allocation to help protect seniors from elder abuse, plus a boost to mental health services for elders and palliative care as bulleted below. Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) particularly endorsed the resources targeting elder abuse and will advocate for building up community services to support elders’ ability to avoid hospital. ACSA also commented that palliative care funding should go to environments chosen by older people and said it would call on the NSW government to match announced Federal Government funding to develop better models of palliative care within aged care.
NDIS – funding the NSW transition to the full NDIS from July 2018
- $3.2 billion transition funding in 2018-19 – comprising an estimated $2.7 billion cash contribution and $477.5 million in kind (NSW Government agency services)
- $97.5m in 2018-19 ($230m over 3 years) for operational services until full transition
- $87m in 2018-19 ($150m over 3 years) for residual functions
- $650,000 for the Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit, which has received almost 10,000 calls since it was established in 2013
- An additional $50,000 towards a case coordination trial for the Helpline to support complex cases of elder abuse
- $8.8m to continue to implement the NSW Ageing Strategy 2016-2020, which includes Tech Savvy Seniors, NSW Seniors Card, the Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit (see above) and the NSW Seniors Festival and Premier’s Gala Concerts
- $1.2b for public transport concessions including for pensioners, seniors, people with a disability and the school students transport scheme
- The Energy Affordability Package – up to 20 per cent increase to energy rebates from 1 July 2017 including the Low-Income Household Rebate, the Family Energy Rebate, the Gas Rebate, the Medical Energy Rebate, the Life Support Rebate, and Energy Payment Assistance
- $700m State-wide Mental Health Infrastructure Program to transform existing infrastructure to support new contemporary care models, and provide new specialist mental health units for older people, including 20 beds for older people. This will boost inpatient and community-based mental health services across NSW.
- $27.1 million for palliative care support, as part of the Government’s $100 million palliative care package, providing: new initiatives including a workforce boost for social workers, allied health workers to support patients, families and carers, and support for volunteer services; continued funding to upskill nurses and allied health staff in palliative care through training and scholarships across the State, with a focus on regional and rural staff
General health spending
- In 2018-19, NSW Health estimates it will fund an additional 1,370 staff across NSW
At more than $25b, the total health budget was 28.6 per cent of all NSW Government recurrent expenditure. Within that, mental health was allocated a record $2.1b. ACSA noted that the focus was on the acute end of the health path while investment in prevention was “falling”. ACSA also said it will keep pressing Government on the need to build capacity in external infrastructure, services and supports to keep older people healthy.