The 2019-20 Federal Budget, delivered on 2 April, contains measures across carer services, aged
care, health and – to a much lesser extent – income support, which will assist some carers and
people with care needs.
From Carers Australia’s perspective, a top up of $84.3 million over four years to fund the new
Integrated Carer Support Services scheme to be introduced in November is welcome. While we
generally support the design of the new scheme, we have had concerns about the adequacy of its
In other important areas the Budget has fallen short of our hopes.
Despite the Treasurer identifying investment in 10,000 new aged care Home Care Packages, this is
old news and does not represent a commitment of new funding in the 2019-20 Budget. The
Department of Health has given evidence before the Aged Care Royal Commission that $2.5 billion is
needed to address the waiting times of more than 18 months for older Australians to access the
support they have been assessed as needing.
We are also concerned that an estimated $2.5 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
underspend against projected spending for 2017-18, not including commitments by the states and
territories, is being transferred back into general revenue, rather than being used to address some of
the problems which have emerged as the Scheme is being rolled out.
Another disappointment is that no increase in Newstart payments were announced. The Australian
Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has been calling for an immediate increase of $75 a week to the
Newstart Allowance and the introduction of a better system of indexation which more accurately
reflects increases in the cost of living. This position is widely supported across the community sector
and beyond. Many unemployed carers who provide a substantial amount of care, but not enough to
qualify them for the Carer Payment, receive Newstart Allowance. The amount of care they do provide
can be a barrier to them finding suitable employment. In this context, it is worth noting that the
average age of a primary carer is 55 years and that there are more unemployed workers between the
ages of 55 years and 64 years than any other age cohort. They depend on Newstart Allowance for
longer than any other group.
Please note that Budget measures must be passed by Parliament before
they can come into effect
Click link below for detailed information by Carers Australia on the 2019-20 Federal Budget