As the Federal Government prepares to unveil its upcoming Budget, many seniors across the country are eagerly anticipating what the financial plan will mean for them.
With a rising cost of living and an ailing aged care industry, older Australians are no doubt eager to learn what Budget measures are on the table that will help alleviate such concerns.
From a $14.6 billion package to help alleviate the pressures associated with the rising cost of living to funding for aged care workers and a reduction in the cost of prescription medicines, there are several areas in which the Budget will impact the lives of older Australians.
— Jim Chalmers MP (@JEChalmers) May 8, 2023
In the lead-up to the Budget, Starts at 60 has compiled a comprehensive guide to the 2023 Budget measures that are expected to have the greatest impact on over 60s while shedding some light on what older adults can anticipate in terms of government support.
As the nation continues to struggle with the rising cost of living, Treasurer Jim Chalmers has promised a $14.6 billion cost of living package to offer some much-needed financial relief with $1.5 billion earmarked to subsidise the electricity bills of millions of households and one million businesses.
The measure is expected to benefit pensioners, small businesses, and individuals receiving government payments, with up to $500 relief from rising energy prices
“More than 5.5 million households will get some assistance with their electricity bills, and around a million small businesses will be eligible as well, to take some of the edge off what is the key drivers of these cost of living pressures,” Chalmers told the ABC.
“People will be getting several hundred dollars if they’re on pensions and payments, or a small business, but depending on where you live, depending on what the price pressures are, depending on how much the states and territories are prepared to kick in because this is a co-investment with them.”
The upcoming Budget will also see Labor commit $11.3 billion towards funding a substantial 15 per cent pay increase for aged care workers, matching the recent Fair Work Commission’s directive for the sector.
The significant investment is expected to draw more staff to the sector and will be a vital step forward towards the government’s commitment to improving the quality of aged care in Australia.
As per The Guardian, Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said the move will “ensure that quality aged care workers are less likely to contemplate leaving the sector because of pay concerns.”
“Fair wages play a major role in attracting and retaining workers to provide around-the-clock care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people,” Wells said.
The Budget will also allocate $1.1 billion to fund price reductions on prescription medications, which will be implemented through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Medicines for conditions such as heart disease, cholesterol, Crohn’s disease, and hypertension will be included in the new measure, which is expected to deliver budget savings by reducing patients’ visits to the GP to obtain the medicines they need.
The move has been widely welcomed by healthcare professionals and patient groups, who have long advocated for greater access to affordable prescription medications.
Australian Health Minister Mark Butler highlighted the importance of the new policy, stating that it will address the issue of Australians delaying or going without necessary medication due to the cost.