1 April 2019

Federal Budget: ACT gets $68m for health, $50m for key roads

| Ian Bushnell
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$13.5 million will go to expanding Canberra Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Photo: George Tsotsos.

A $68 million boost to ACT health services and $50 million for upgrades to two key roads have been announced ahead of Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

The health package includes money for improved access to primary care services, mental health, help for people with eating disorders, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, expansion of the Canberra Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU), research, and residential aged care.

There will also be $30m for the Kings Highway corridor heavily used by ACT holidaymakers and $20m for the duplication of William Slim Drive to ease congestion.

Liberal ACT Senator Zed Seselja said the William Slim Drive works would include intersection upgrades at Dumas Street, Owen Dixon Drive and Chuculba Crescent.

He said $13.5m for an expansion of the ICU in Canberra Hospital would deliver six to eight new beds for patients in Canberra and relieve pressure on ACT acute health care services.

“A strong economy has enabled our Government to double hospital funding in the ACT, and in addition deliver these health projects in the ACT Health Plan,” Senator Seselja said.

The Government will also provide $13.5 million to establish a residential eating disorder centre in the ACT, which will provide specialist care through in-patient best practice treatment programs. The centre will also help advance the way eating disorders are diagnosed and treated through training, education and advocacy.

From today (1 April) Canberra will get a new MRI service at Calvary Hospital, with Government funding of more than $6m.

The Government will provide $3.7 million to support all ACT residential aged care facilities to reduce the adverse effects of medication, through embedding pharmacists and funding for each service to employ a part-time pharmacist to work closely with general practitioners and nursing staff.

There will be $6 million to establish the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Project, which will offer two pathways for support, through an Online Youth Navigation Portal and the Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) program.

The online portal will provide personalised online and phone services for young people, their friends and family, and other health professionals, as well as consolidate information in one place and provide an important triage
function to ensure young people at highest risk are supported.

The YAM health promotion program will be delivered in schools across the ACT to educate and engage young people in discussions about mental health.

There will also be $3.4 million over four years for a new headspace centre in the ACT, in addition to the established centre at Torrens Street, Braddon.

The Government will also spend almost $7.9 million on drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, including $3.6 million for a Community Withdrawal Support Service – a non-residential based withdrawal program delivered by Registered Nurses, in partnership with general practitioners and alcohol and other drug services.

Research in the ACT will be boosted by $10 million for the Phenomics Translation Centre at the Australian National University, which studies how genes interact with the environment so personalised treatments can be developed.

The University of Canberra will get $4 million for preventive health research focusing on better-coordinated care for people with chronic and complex disease, and helping them to self-manage their condition and to keep them out of hospital.


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