MYEFO confirms Budget turnaround and new health grants program

Latest News

In the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), the Morrison government revised its revenue and spending forecasts for the years 2018-19 to 2021-22.

Since the 2018-19 Budget was delivered in May, around seven months ago, the government has revised up its forecast revenue over the next four years by $12.4 billion.

At the same time, it has revised down what it expects to spend by $17.8 billion.

In barely half a year, its budget bottom line has improved by over $30 billion, and it is now forecasting an underlying cash balance surplus of $19 billion in 2021-22.

This even includes over $10 billion in funding decisions taken but not yet announced.

This is in the context of its recurrent annual spending, or what it invests in things like defence, health and education, still rising by over $40 billion from 2018-19 to 2021-22.

In health, hospitals have been the major beneficiary, with spending to rise by $30 billion over the five years from 2020 to 2025.

Just last week the Morrison government announced another $1.3 billion for health - to fund, well, virtually anything it wants.

The $1.25 billion 'Community Health and Hospitals Program' will fund projects and services that reduce pressure on community and hospital services, including:

  1. Preventive, primary and chronic disease management;
  2. Specialist hospital services such as cancer treatment, rural health and hospital infrastructure;
  3. Drug and alcohol treatment; and
  4. Mental health.

There is no clarity over how the funding will be allocated including the evaluation of potential projects.

In the prime minister's own words, "Our funding for public hospitals will more than double from $13.3 billion in 2012–13 to $28.7 billion in 2024–25."

"Our new five year National Health Reform Agreement will deliver more than $30 billion in additional public hospital funding from 2020–21 to 2024–25, taking overall funding during this period to $130.2 billion," he added.

Health minister Greg Hunt also used MYEFO to announce $512 million for primary care, including $318 million in direct support for GPs, such as MBS fees for providing care in aged care facilities.