BUDGET - $354m to support health & wellbeing of women and girls - but no specifics for our area
Federal Budget later today and so we have yet another government announcement about extra funding before the event – this one spread over four years to support women’s health nationwide, but Macquarie MP Susan Templeman says, “let’s see what happens on the ground”.
The $353.9 million over the next four years to be spent nationally will include funding for cervical and breast cancer, endometriosis and reproductive health.
The funding aims to support the five priority areas of the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020–2030 and so improve long term health outcomes for women and girls.
Minister for Women and Senator for Western Sydney, the Hon Marise Payne, said the government’s investment would benefit Australian women of all ages.
“Among these key measures, we will see $100.4 million for improvements to cervical and breast cancer screening programs, $26.9 million to provide support for people with eating disorders and their families and $6.6 million for Breast Cancer Network Australia to operate its helpline, rural and regional information forums and extending its consumer representative training program,” Sen Payne said.
“To help expectant parents, we are also investing $19.3 million for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme listing of Oripro (progesterone) to prevent women going into premature labour, $47.4 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant parents, as well as $13.7 million for the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance to reduce pre-term birth rates.
“We’re also providing additional funding to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians suffering from Endometriosis. Affecting one in nine women, Endometriosis can lead to severe chronic pain, and in some cases, infertility.
“Given over half the Australian population is made up of women, it’s important that we have equal access to health services and support.
“Each of these investments will have a profound impact on women and girls in the Hawkesbury, and across Australia,” Sen Payne said.
Other elements of the funding include:
$95.9 million for new tests on the MBS for pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT) of embryos for specific genetic or chromosomal abnormalities prior to implantation and pregnancy.
$47.4 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant parents, including through funding for the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) helpline, and by working to deliver universal perinatal mental health screening and improved data collection across public antenatal and postnatal care settings;
$22 million for additional gynaecology items on the MBS, including items for Assisted Reproductive Technology and long-term reversible contraceptives.
$21.6 million for women’s health initiatives, including Jean Hailes for Women’s Health and the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia for the Periods, Pain and Endometriosis Program (PPEP-Talk).
“Any additional funding for women’s health is welcome, although I’d like to see some detail about exactly what it means for women in Macquarie,” Labor MP Susan Templeman said.
“I remain sceptical of any promises made by this government. When it comes to the health of women I can’t forget that a year ago, when asked about women giving birth on the side of the road, the Prime Minister boasted about upgrading the highway.
“And only a few weeks ago their plan was to ask women facing domestic violence to drain their own superannuation fund to escape their situation.
“These pre-budget announcements are all about the headline, but let’s see what actually ends up on the ground.”
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