Here’s our snapshot of the Budget measures announced tonight for 2017/18 that directly impact aged care

Aged Care funding

  • $67.3m in 2017/18 to improve health and aged care payments system
  • $8.3m over three years to support great choice for at home palliative care
  • $3.1m to improve My Aged Care
  • $1.9 million to establish an aged care industry-led taskforce to develop a workforce strategy, which the Government says will be cost neutral
  • Extended funding for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) to 1 July 2020.

Business measures

  • Full funding for the Commonwealth’s share of the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be assured
  • Reconfirmed previous commitment of tax rate cuts for incorporated small businesses with turnover less than $10 million to 27.5 per cent in 2016–17. This lower corporate tax rate will extend to other companies with annual turnover less than $50 million by 2018–19. However, some small businesses may be hit with a new foreign worker levy.
  • Every employee on a temporary work visa will cost a business up to $1,800 each year, while businesses will pay a one-off levy for workers on a permanent skilled visa.
  • The Youth Jobs PaTH program to help up to 120,000 young Australians to get a job by providing them with practical pre-employment training, and with real work experience through internships. Businesses are being encouraged to hire young job seekers through wage subsidies.
  • Government has legislated to open up crowd-sourced equity funding for start-ups and innovative public companies, and has introduced a tax concession for start-ups and angel investors. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has introduced a regulatory sandbox allowing eligible businesses to test new financial and credit services.
  • Building Better Regions Fund is investing $298 million in infrastructure and community projects to back our communities’ plans to adapt and thrive in changing economic circumstances.
  • $220 million in a Regional Jobs and Investment Package to support a resilient and productive regional workforce.

Housing supply and affordability

A number of measures have been announced to improve access to secure and affordable housing across the housing spectrum.

Restrictions that are contributing to the supply of housing falling behind population growth and encouraging a more responsive housing market will be eased by:

  • working with State and Territory governments to set housing supply targets and facilitate planning and zoning reform under a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement;
  • establishing a $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility to address infrastructure chokepoints that are impeding housing development in critical areas of undersupply;
  • establishing an online Commonwealth land registry that will provide more detailed information about Commonwealth land to external parties in a mapped format, allowing and encouraging proposals for higher value land use, including housing development proposals;
  • releasing suitable surplus Commonwealth land starting with 127 hectares of Defence land in Maribyrnong, which is less than 10 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD and could support up to 6,000 new homes;
  • kick-starting planning and zoning reform across eight local government areas facing above average population growth and affordability pressures in Western Sydney through a new City Deal for Western Sydney;
  • safeguarding the opportunity for Australian buyers to purchase in new developments by introducing a 50 per cent cap on pre-approved foreign ownership in new developments.

The Government will improve outcomes in social housing and homelessness by:

  • working with State and Territory governments to reform Commonwealth funding arrangements under a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, retaining current funding and indexation arrangements but requiring concrete outcomes;
  • providing additional funding of $375 million over the next four years as part of the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement to fund front line services to address homelessness;
  • encouraging social impact investing to support innovative approaches to reduce homelessness;
  • incentivising more private investment in affordable housing through tax incentives; and
  • establishing the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to operate an affordable housing bond aggregator to provide cheaper and longer-term finance for the community housing sector.

Support for older Australians

  • Pensioner Concession Card will be reinstated for those impacted by the asset test change introduced in January this year, allowing an extra 92,000 people to access discounts offered including subsidised hearing services offered by the Commonwealth.
  • Superannuation tax reforms to make superannuation fairer and target concessions to support self sufficiency in retirement. However, as major shareholders in banks which are facing a new levy, fund holders may be hit with new charges.
  • Older Australians will be able to contribute downsizing proceeds into superannuation. From 1 July 2018, people aged 65 and over will be able to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 in proceeds from the sale of a principal residence, held for at least 10 years, into their superannuation. These new contributions will be in addition to any other voluntary contributions that people are able to make under the existing contribution rules and concessional and non-concessional caps.
  • Vital health care services guaranteed for all Australians, with Commonwealth health funding expected to increase from $75.3 billion in 2017-18 to $82.6 billion in 2020-21.

Health

  • $80m over three years towards prioritising mental health, psychological support services. Currently unknown if this includes expanded mental health services for people in residential care.
  • $9.1m over three years to improve telehealth for psychological services in regional, rural and remote Australia. Currently unknown if this includes aged care clients.
  • $15m over the next two years for mental health research
  • $68.7 over three years to continue to expand My Health Record
  • $721m over three years to finalise transition arrangements of the NDIS

 Changes within the aged care agencies

  • An additional 41 positions at the Aged Care Quality Agency. The proposed increase is due to a forecast of high level accreditation activity.
  • Additional 611 positions for the NDIS launch transition agency
  • The Department of Health will be losing 244 positions through a number of measures including voluntary redundancies. It is unclear yet whether the aged care branch will be impacted but further announcements are expected over the coming week.