80% of Aussies over 16 have had at least one dose

Over 80% of Australians over 16 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

 

This is a significant milestone, and I want to thank each and every member of our local community, and every Australian, who has rolled up their sleeves to help us get this done.

 

 

I also want to thank our health professionals, our GPs, pharmacists, doctors and nurses, for their part in this rollout.

 

 

Our community is doing our bit, to view your local LGA’s vaccination status click here.

 

 

An 80% vaccination rate means we can get on with life with fewer restrictions.

 

 

Every vaccination gets us closer to more free travel, within Australia to see our friends, family, and our beautiful country.

 

 

It also means we are closer to safely opening our international borders, with limited or no restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.

What this shows is the problems and challenges that we’ve had, we’ve addressed, we’ve fixed. And we’ve turned it around and we’re in the home stretch, and we’re moving towards that line, and then we need to keep going beyond it. Because I believe Australia can achieve much higher vaccination rates than the 70 and 80 per cent that we’ve set out in the National Plan, and that will only give us greater confidence and enable us to move even more quickly as we open the country up.

 

I want to see Australians all reunited once again. I’m sure we all want that. I have no doubt that all premiers and chief ministers around the country want to see that as well. So, we need to keep setting out that path ahead, moving forward with confidence, and giving people that hope that the vaccine program is giving them. We can’t be complacent. We need to move in a safe way. And the National Plan does set out a safe path, based on the best possible medical and health advice and the best scientific research, as has been done by the Doherty Institute.

 

And, so, I want to thank all of Australians for the tremendous work that you’ve done in getting us to this point. There’s more to do, there’s a lot of hope ahead, and I want us to keep pressing towards that.

 

Thanks again for doing your bit. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please visit australia.gov.au to find your local vaccine clinic and get vaccinated to keep you and your family safe.

AUKUS

As leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, guided by our enduring ideals and shared commitment to the international rules-based order, we resolve to deepen diplomatic, security, and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including by working with partners, to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. As part of this effort, we are announcing the creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership called “AUKUS” — Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

 

Through AUKUS, our governments will strengthen the ability of each to support our security and defence interests, building on our longstanding and ongoing bilateral ties. We will promote deeper information and technology sharing.  We will foster deeper integration of security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains. And in particular, we will significantly deepen cooperation on a range of security and defence capabilities.

 

As the first initiative under AUKUS, recognising our common tradition as maritime democracies, we commit to a shared ambition to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.  Today, we embark on a trilateral effort of 18 months to seek an optimal pathway to deliver this capability.  We will leverage expertise from the United States and the United Kingdom, building on the two countries’ submarine programs to bring an Australian capability into service at the earliest achievable date.

 

The development of Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines would be a joint endeavour between the three nations, with a focus on interoperability, commonality, and mutual benefit. Australia is committed to adhering to the highest standards for safeguards, transparency, verification, and accountancy measures to ensure the non-proliferation, safety, and security of nuclear material and technology. Australia remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency.  Our three nations are deeply committed to upholding our leadership on global non-proliferation.

 

Recognising our deep defence ties, built over decades, today we also embark on further trilateral collaboration under AUKUS to enhance our joint capabilities and interoperability.  These initial efforts will focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.

The endeavour we launch today will help sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.  For more than 70 years, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have worked together, along with other important allies and partners, to protect our shared values and promote security and prosperity. Today, with the formation of AUKUS, we recommit ourselves to this vision.

2022 Women Leaders in Sport Grants

Hundreds of emerging female leaders in Australian sport will receive quality professional development and training under Sport Australia’s 2022 Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) grants.

 

Applications are now open for the program which has helped strengthen the role of female leaders in sport for more than two decades.

 

Sporting organisations can also apply for WLIS grants to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces and attract, retain, and develop even more talented female leaders across the sector.

 

Now in its 21st year, the highly regarded WLIS program is delivered by Sport Australia and will distribute $370,000 in grants with the support of the Office for Women.

 

The Government is committed to increasing the number of women leaders in sport.

 

We are proud to fund a program which sets new benchmarks for supporting women in sport and assists organisations in taking meaningful steps to achieve gender equity in the workplace.

 

Increasing women’s economic security and leadership is a key focus for the Morrison Government.

 

As we overcome COVID-19, it is more crucial than ever that we build strong foundations for women working in the sport sector.

 

The program provides women with valuable development opportunities and experiences to progress on their leadership pathway.

 

We know that sport can bring communities together and inspire positive change. By providing these targeted development opportunities we are supporting the next generation of female sports leaders.

 

The program has a proven track record of success.

 

Earlier this year we awarded individual grants to a record 84 women who attended courses from Board Room training to High Performance coach education.

 

During the last grants round, 13 organisations shared in $170,000 in funding including Football SA which is using its grant to deliver gender inclusive workshops to club board members and run women’s leadership workshops, while the AFL is offering tailored training and education to 36 community coaches and officials.

 

To date the WLIS program has supported more than 26,000 women and 100 local, state and national sporting organisations.

 

This is a fantastic achievement, and we are excited to see the program expand thanks to funding from the Government.

 

This will enable us to deliver even more opportunities for women and strive for a greater balance of men and women in senior positions both on and off the field.

 

Applications for the WLIS individual and organisation grants close on 15 October, 2021.

 

More information including the eligibility criteria is available on Sport Australia’s website.

Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements

Government expands support for apprentices to secure Australia’s future workforce

The Government will continue to secure Australia’s economic recovery by expanding support to help apprentices finish their training, protecting the skills pipeline delivered under the government’s successful Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program.

 

The $3.9 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program will extend support into the second and third year of an eligible Australian Apprenticeship through the $716 million Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program.

 

Under the new changes from October 2021, eligible employers will receive a 10 per cent wage subsidy in the second year of an eligible apprenticeship, and five per cent in the third year. The Government’s investment is expected to continue to support the 270,000 anticipated commencements under the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program from October 2020 to March 2022.

 

The new Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program will help maintain a pipeline of skilled workers right across the economy with 348,200 Australians training as at June 2021, 30 per cent more than the previous 12 months.

 

The Government has supported a generation of Australian apprentices in the face of the biggest shock to our economy since World War Two.

 

While other countries shed their apprentice workforces, our highly successful Boosting Apprenticeship Commencement program saw new apprenticeships increase 141.5 per cent year on year.

 

The Government is now protecting the pipeline of apprentices today so they become the skilled workforce of tomorrow through the Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program, giving employers the confidence to retain an apprentice in their second and third years of training right through to completion.

 

Securing the skilled workforce of tomorrow through the Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program is in addition to a record $6.4 billion investment in skills this financial year, including a $500 million expansion of the JobTrainer Fund, which recently hit more than 230,000 course enrolments.

 

For further information on how to apply for the program, including information on eligibility, visit www.dese.gov.au/boosting-apprenticeship-commencements or contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

Significant Step Forwards in Aged Care Reform

The allocation of 80,000 new home care packages worth $6.5 billion and a basic daily fee increase for residential providers are the centrepiece of a raft of aged care reforms which start today. 

 

In a continued response to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the latest measures from the Government put the health and wellbeing of senior Australians first. 

 

It is another step in the Government’s implementation of generational reform. From today, aged care providers must review the quality of their daily living services – with a particular focus on food and nutrition – to receive a new $10 per resident per day Government Basic Daily Fee supplement. Residential aged care providers will be required to report on a quarterly basis from 2021-22, with the first report due in October 2021. This significant funding boost, worth $3.2 billion over five years, will provide a broad funding uplift to support the sector to deliver better care and services for residents.

 

The new reporting requirements will strengthen provider accountability. A key focus of the reporting requirements will be to ensure providers are delivering high quality services to meet the living needs of residents, with a focus on food and nutrition. The new supplement will be paid monthly, with the first payment to be made in early August based on residents in care in July. To start receiving the payment providers will need to make an undertaking to the Department that they will provide good quality and quantity of goods and services to meet the living needs of resident and meet the quarterly reporting obligations. The undertaking must be made by 21 July 2021, and payment will cease if the reporting obligations are not met. 

 

The 30 per cent increase in the homeless and viability supplements paid to the residential sector would also continue to ensure providers are well placed to keep offering services, especially to vulnerable senior Australians. The allocation of 80,000 new home care packages would ensure senior Australians could live at home for longer. 

 

Over the coming two years, 80,000 new home care packages will be steadily released, which will build on the 83,105 packages released since the 2018‑19 Budget. This equates to more than 750 packages each week. Our Government is supporting more senior Australians who choose to remain in their homes for longer as they age. According to latest data there are 167,124 senior Australians receiving services through a package as at 31 March 2021. 

 

Home care packages have increased from 59,300 under Labor in 2011-12 to 275,597 forecast for 2024-25, an increase of 365 per cent. Over the same period, funding will increase by 576 per cent due to growth in high-level home care packages. Additionally, from today, measures will be implemented to reduce the use of restrictive practices. 

 

The Aged Care and Other Legislative Amendment (Royal Commission Response No.1) Bill 2021 will-

 

Strengthen regulation for the use of restrictive practices, such as chemical and physical restraint, as a last resort

Establish assurance review arrangements for home care delivery and administration and

Abolish the requirement for the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) to make way for new governance arrangements.  

The new provisions in the legislation clarify and strengthen provider responsibilities. Use of alternative behaviour management strategies will now ensure safer care for those most vulnerable receiving care, particularly those living with dementia. 

Increased regulation, training and oversight on the use of restraints will help carers, the aged care workforce, and the sector comply with the strengthened legislation, facilitating safer and higher quality care for senior Australians. Assurance reviews will also apply to up to 500 home care providers each year, from November 2021. The reviews will examine fees and charges applied by home care providers, to ensure senior Australians are not facing unjustified costs. 

 

Other important reforms starting today include-

 

$178.9 million for Primary Health Networks (PHN) to support senior Australians’ health, including improved access to telehealth care and enhanced out of hours support for aged care residents, new health pathways to support assessment and referral, and early monitoring and identification of health needs to support people to live at home for longer

Additional funding of $125.7 million over four years to support the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Care services and Multi-Purpose Services

$45.4 million for medication management in residential aged care, including the use of electronic national residential medication charts

$42.8 million to boost the Aged Care Access Incentive to increase face-to-face servicing by general practitioners in residential aged care

$37.3 million to expand the Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care initiative to all 31 PHNs

Support for expanded independent advocacy to deliver greater choice for senior Australians, improved quality safeguards, and diversity assistance for providers

Enhanced reporting for residential aged care providers to meet financial and prudential monitoring requirements to improve compliance and intervention   

The assumption of responsibility of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care for setting clinical care components of the aged care quality standards and

Work to establish a local network of Department of Health aged care staff to focus on stewardship and coordination of aged care services, starting with eight PHN regions.  

 

The Aged Care Sector Committee will also finish and be replaced with the new National Aged Care Advisory Council. A dedicated Council of Elders for senior Australians will be established to provide advice to Government, informed by experience, to ensure those who are most central to the system can help direct and shape the way it operates. 

 

Membership arrangements for the new National Aged Care Advisory Council and Council of Elders are currently being considered. 

Medicare Funding Facts

The Government is investing record funding in Medicare, providing more support to Australians as we face some of the greatest health challenges in a generation. Our commitment to Medicare is rock solid.


We are investing $125.7 billion in Medicare over the forward estimates, an increase of over $6 billion since last year’s Budget. This is up 58% from when Labor were last in government.


This includes $204.6 million to extend the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth arrangements until 31 December 2021, bringing the total investment in telehealth to $3.6 billion. This is continuing to provide access to health services for all Australians regardless of where they live. Importantly patients whose movements are restricted by a State or Territory public health order can continue to access support through telehealth.


Through the 2021-22 Budget, the Government invested a further $711.7 million to add new services and strengthen existing services on the MBS. For example, $40.5 million has been committed for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring – a new service for diagnosing high blood pressure (hypertension) that provides greater accuracy for diagnosis through continuous monitoring over 24 hours. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is superior to the currently MBS funded service of discrete blood pressure measurements in a clinic, or using home blood pressure monitors in conjunction with GP consultations.


From 1 July 2021, changes to the MBS items for orthopaedic, cardiac and general surgery services will be implemented following recommendations of the independent, clinician-led MBS Taskforce Review.


The changes are part of the most comprehensive review of Medicare since it began, with the aim of modernising the system to ensure it supports high quality health and medical practice.


They result from a five year process by the MBS Review Taskforce, including detailed consideration by committees led by medical experts, and extensive consultation with relevant medical organisations and the public.

 

As well as revised Medicare rebates, the changes include the addition of new items, the revision of some items and removal of other obsolete items, to reflect contemporary best practice.


They will improve the quality and safety of care for patients, support high value care, and simplify the MBS.

 

The majority of the changes coming into effect on 1 July 2021 relate to orthopaedic surgery items, which make up about 10 per cent of all MBS items.


Medicare rebates have been reviewed to reflect the cost and complexity of performing each service. They will assist consumers in accessing the best available medical treatment and ensure a more consistent approach to billing by providers.
Rebates will significantly increase for a number of items. Rebates will rise for nine existing items for general surgery and 29 orthopaedic surgery items. For example, the Medicare rebate for revision of knee replacement (item 49533) will increase by $315 to $2,645.55.


For cardiac surgery, rebates will rise significantly across three services related to coronary bypass grafting surgery, which have been increased by 50 per cent.
Changes to general surgery consolidate the existing 138 items into 85 items and provide more flexibility for surgeons to better tailor treatment to patients.
Private Healthcare Australia has publicly supported the 1 July 2021 changes, noting most patients would not pay increased out-of-pocket costs and that rebates have increased for a range of orthopaedic procedures.


The Government will closely monitor the impact of the 1 July 2021 changes to ensure there are no unintended consequences to patients. We are also committed to working in partnership with the sector, including the AMA, private health insurers and private hospitals, to implement future changes to the MBS recommended by the MBS Review Taskforce.


Further information about the 1 July 2021 changes to the MBS is available at: www.health.gov.au/mbsonline

 

To read more about the current investment in the health of Australians, visit https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/budget-2021-22-generational-change-and-record-investment-in-the-health-of-australians

Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement

The Australian and United Kingdom governments have finalised their Agreement in Principle. The AIP sets out the terms on which the free trade agreement will be concluded.

 

The FTA will deliver more Australian jobs and business opportunities for exporters, greater access to the UK for businesses and workers, and tariff free UK products for Australian consumers.

 

The AIP would provide the scaffolding around which the FTA would be built.

 

Free trade agreements are complex, legal documents and there is still much work to do to deliver our final agreement with the UK.

 

When the agreement is finalised it will deliver the most comprehensive and liberal agreement outside our partnership with New Zealand.

 

The AIP contains agreements that are locked in that will benefit Australian farmers and workers, such as:

 

Beef tariffs will be eliminated after ten years. During the transition period, Australia will have immediate access to a duty-free quota of 35,000 tonnes, rising in equal instalments to 110,000 tonnes in year 10.

 

In the subsequent five years a safeguard will apply on beef imports exceeding a further volume threshold rising in equal instalments to 170,000 tonnes, levying a tariff safeguard duty of 20 per cent for the rest of the calendar year.

 

Sheep meat tariffs will be eliminated after ten years. During the transition period, Australia will have immediate access to a duty-free quota of 25,000 tonnes, rising in equal instalments to 75,000 tonnes in year 10. In the subsequent five years a safeguard will apply on sheep meat imports exceeding a further volume threshold rising in equal instalments to 125,000 tonnes, levying a tariff safeguard duty of 20 per cent for the rest of the calendar year.

 

Sugar tariffs will be eliminated over eight years. During the transition period, Australia will have immediate access to a duty-free quota of 80,000 tonnes, rising by 20,000 tonnes each year.

 

Dairy tariffs will be eliminated over five years. During the transition period, Australia will have immediate access to a duty-free quota for cheese of 24,000 tonnes, rising in equal instalments to 48,000 tonnes in year five. Australia will also have immediate access to a duty-free quota for non-cheese dairy of 20,000 tonnes. There will be a further duty-free transitional quota for butter of 5,500 tonnes rising to 11,500 tonnes in year five.

 

The FTA will improve working holiday opportunities for youth in both countries. Eligibility to participate will be raised from 30 to 35, stays allowed up to three years, and people will have more freedom to choose where they work

 

Australia will continue to work with the United Kingdom to deliver this gold-standard FTA that will benefit both countries and serve as a marker to our shared commitment to free trade.

 

For more information on the negotiations please visit: dfat.gov.au/aukfta

 

Australia Passes 7 Million doses of COVID-19 Vaccines Administered

This week, we reached 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Australia. It took us 47 days to get to our first million doses administered and just 9 days to reach our most recent million.

 

The milestone is testament to the hard work of those across the supply chain helping to get vaccines where they are needed, and safely administer them.

 

We have been focused on operationalising the recent advice from ATAGI, making Pfizer preferred for those under the age of 60.

 

For people who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine without any serious adverse effects the health advice is clear, you should still receive your second dose. This includes adults under 60 years of age.

 

This week, we have seen 221,384 Australians follow that advice, and turn up for their second dose of AstraZeneca.

 

Over 5.8 million people have now received a first dose of vaccine.

 

Thank you to everyone who has been vaccinated or made an appointment so far, and in particular, those large numbers of Australians who have turned up to receive their second dose.

 

Every day, we are vaccinating more Australians and continue to gain momentum in the total number of Australians vaccinated, particularly for those most at risk, with 68% of those over 70 having now received at least one dose of vaccine.

 

 

30,000 more Government Guarantees from 1 July

First home buyers and single parents with children in Cook Electorate will be eligible to apply for 30,000 additional places under the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, the New Home Guarantee program, and the Family Home Guarantee from 1 July 2021. 

 

Since the introduction of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and New Home Guarantee, 30,000 Australians have been able to enter the housing market.

 

As announced in the 2021-22 Budget, the Government will establish the Family Home Guarantee to support single parents with dependants. Starting 1 July 2021, 10,000 guarantees will be made available to eligible single parent families to build a new home or purchase an existing home with a deposit of as little as 2 per cent.

 

We’re giving first home buyers and single parents with children in Cook the opportunity to enter the housing market and buy their very own home.

 

By supporting single parents and their children, the Government is helping more people in Cook achieve the security and dignity that home ownership provides.

 

With the 30,000 new places available from 1 July, now is the time for potential applicants to contact a participating bank or mortgage provider and get their applications underway.

 

The new places will assist Australians in achieving the aspiration of home ownership.

 

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme has been a landmark success of the Government since its commencement in 2020. 30,000 first home buyers have been supported into home ownership through First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and New Home Guarantee already.

 

We know how difficult it can be to buy a new home or re-enter the housing market, and that saving a deposit is the hardest part of getting into home ownership. That’s why the Government has established the new Family Home Guarantee, which recognises the challenge of saving for a deposit is that much more difficult when you are a single parent with children.

 

The New Home Guarantee commenced on 6 October 2020 as a temporary expansion of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. It will provide an additional 10,000 places for first home buyers seeking to build a new home or purchase a newly built dwelling with a deposit of 5 per cent and a construction commencement timeframe of 12 months.

Federal Budget 2021-2022 funding into Health

The Government is investing a record $121.4 billion in 2021–22 and $503 billion over the next four years, providing more support to Australians as we face some of the greatest health challenges in a generation. 

 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we have committed over $25 billion towards our COVID-19 health response. This includes measures in the 2021–22 Budget, including $1.1 billion to extend our COVID-19 health response to support Australians throughout the pandemic, and $1.9 billion to drive the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, to ensure everyone in Australia will have the opportunity to be vaccinated. 

 

In addition we are extending COVID-19 health measures by investing $204.6 million to extend telehealth arrangements until 31 December 2021, bringing total investment to date to $3.6 billion, which continues to provide access to health services for all Australians regardless of where they live. 

 

In this Budget, we will deliver on two critical reforms: 

 

  • Our $17.7 billion investment in aged care, responding to the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety, and establishing the five pillar – five year plan for genuine change for our senior Australians – the largest investment in aged care and the largest in response to a Royal Commission in Australia’s history – to deliver greater respect, care and dignity for our older Australians, and 
  •  
  • Our $2.3 billion investment in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan – the largest Commonwealth mental health investment in Australia’s history, including creating a landmark national network including up to 57 additional mental health treatments centres and satellites for adults, as well as more centres for youth and children through the Head to Health and headspace programs. 
  •  

In addition, our Government is strengthening our record investment in the Australia’s Long Term National Health Plan, creating the world’s best health care system, including: 

 

  • $125.7 billion over the forward estimates, up over $6 billion, as part of our ongoing commitment to guarantee Medicare for all Australians 
  •  
  • $43 billion over four years to make medicines available and affordable through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) 
  •  
  • $535.9 million for women and girls, including critical investments in line with the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-30, support for women who are suffering from or at risk of endometriosis, preventing premature birth, detection and treatment for breast and cervical cancer, and mental health, including a
  •  
  • $26.9 million investment to provide additional support for people with eating disorders and their families 
  •  
  • $781.1 million to prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and ageing outcomes 
  •  
  • $135.4 billion over five years to continue record level investment in public hospitals, including funding under the 2020–25 National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) and the National Partnership on COVID-19. This is up from $13.3 billion in 2012-13 to $25.6 billion in 2021-22 and $29.9 billion in 2024-25 continuing to build on this Government’s track record of Private Health Insurance (PHI) reforms delivering the lowest premium changes in 20 years, and 
  •  
  • $6.7 billion over four years for life-saving and life changing research, with $228.1 million in new grants and opening of programs in this Budget. 

For more information, visit budget.gov.au