Small-target health policy gets off to a shaky start

23 Sep 2013

ALTHOUGH healthcare didn’t feature strongly in the election campaign, attention is now turning to how Tony Abbott and his cabinet – and specifically his health minister, Peter Dutton – will manage this key portfolio, which consumes 16.2 per cent of the federal budget.

In the lead-up to the election the Coalition made broad pledges to maintain health expenditure and increase support for biomedical research. It also made a few specific commitments to fund projects and programs, including a national centre for youth mental health and an expanded the national bowel cancer screening program. But beyond “no surprises, no excuses,” there was no vision for future directions in health and aged care, and delivering on all commitments is subject to how the government interprets overall budget numbers. We are left to divine the tea leaves…

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