Media release: Health budget focuses on stabilisation and recovery

May 3, 2022

Victoria’s public health system has received a much-needed boost to help it stabilise and recover after two extremely difficult years.

The Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) is particularly pleased with the Victorian Government’s commitment to train and hire up to 7,000 healthcare workers, including 5,000 nurses. Importantly, this comes on top of a previous undertaking to recruit 2,000 ex-pat and international healthcare workers through a global workforce recruitment drive.

CEO of the VHA, Tom Symondson, praised the workforce investment but cautioned that it would take time for these people to hit the ground and relieve pressure on health services.

‘A shortage of healthcare workers remains the biggest problem for our public health system. The Victorian Government is doing its part in this Budget to increase the local workforce. Now the Commonwealth needs to step up and play its role by creating smoother pathways for overseas trained workers to come to Australia and fill urgent vacancies as quickly as possible,’ he said.

The VHA also welcomed:

  • $300 million for the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund to help our regional health services upgrade ageing infrastructure
  • $698 million for the ‘Better at Home’ program which helps people receive care in their own homes, freeing up hospital beds
  • significant investments in health infrastructure, including $1 billion for the new Melton Hospital
  • $7.2 million to improve access to GPs in 20 community health services.

Mr Symondson also welcomed the continuing investment in the COVID Positive Pathways program which helps people recover at home and avoids unnecessary ambulance callouts and hospital care. But he said the government had missed an opportunity to increase overall funding of Victoria’s community health services.

‘We are disappointed that our community health services have not received more funding to keep people well and out of hospital,’ he said.

‘Our community health sector delivers care to our most vulnerable Victorians where and when they need it. Without their work, particularly during the pandemic, our emergency departments would be even busier than they are and our waiting lists for other hospital care, including elective surgery, would be even longer.’

‘We will be pushing hard for more investment in their vital work during the state election campaign this year.’

 

Tom Symondson is available for interview.

Media contact: Julia Medew is on 0402 011 438 or julia.medew@vha.org.au

 

Member briefing

VHA members can read our State Budget briefing for more information.