Our focus is on 6 critical areas to improve health for all Australians. This agenda maps a more equitable healthcare system for all Australians, leading to better health and well-being, and greater prosperity:
- Health equity
- Health and medical research
- Addressing the health gap for Indigenous Australians
- A mental health action plan
- A plan for Australia’s future health challenges
Read our Health plan here ..
The principles of health equity must be embedded in all aspects of government policy, by developing structures and processes that support equity and address the social determinants of health.
A high quality and comprehensive health care system that meets the diverse and complex needs of an entire population is essential for the maintenance and growth of a country’s overall prosperity. Quality health care is evidence-based, provided to those who will benefit, safe and patient-centred. An effective and efficient health care system recognises and respects that while health care is a universal right, access to health care must be equitable.
Despite Australia’s semi-universal public health care system funded through Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and through subsidised private health insurance, there remains significant inequity in both access to, and provision of high quality health care, evidenced by significant discrepancies in the health outcomes for Australians living in rural and remote locations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with mental illness and people living in socioeconomic disadvantage.
Australia faces additional challenges to its health care system. An ageing population and increasing burden of chronic disease is placing increased pressure on physical and financial resources, including health care providers and care facilities.
In 2017-18, total health spending in Australia, which included all of government and non-government sources, totalled $185 billion. This reflects a near doubling of spending since 2000-01 and a real increase in spending (accounting for population growth and inflation) of 2.7% per year, which is expected to continue increasing due to population growth, the increasing burden of chronic disease in Australia. Coupled with an ageing population, Australia will require more resource intensive care to maintain health and quality of life.
The Australian Democrats believe that a whole of system approach is needed to transform Australian health care for the 21st century.
We advocate for policies that support the achievement of integrated, patient-centred health care to meet evolving population needs across the entire health system.