Health funding measures extended after first meeting of national cabinet since federal election

Funding arrangements for Australia’s health response to COVID have been extended for another three months, following talks between the prime minister and state and territory leaders.

Following the first national cabinet meeting under the new government, Anthony Albanese said a further $760 million would be spent extending the pandemic health and hospital support for another three months.

The funding has been extended until the end of the year.

The prime minister said leaders agreed to work together to find improvements to the health systems, including connections between GPs and hospitals, as well as getting aged care and NDIS patients out of hospitals and into more appropriate care.

Health funding and health arrangements will also be reviewed, led by Prime Minister and Cabinet department secretary Glyn Davis.

Albanese said the meeting between leaders had been successful.

“What that is about isn’t necessarily additional dollars, what it’s about is a recognition that our hospital system at the moment has people who should be looked after by their GP, but GPs just aren’t available,” he said.

It comes after premiers and chief ministers called for the Commonwealth to commit to a 50-50 funding model for state and territory health systems.

National skills shortages were also a key topic of discussion during the talks in Canberra.

“The Commonwealth is prioritising productivity reform and economic reform and that was well received by the state and territories,” Albanese said.

State and territories leaders supported calls for the federal government to set up a referendum to enshrine an Indigenous voice to parliament as part of the constitution.

National cabinet is next set to meet in October, before the federal budget is handed down, with leaders agreeing to meet at least four times per year.