Having committed $25 billion since the start of the outbreak last year, the Federal Government has announced more than $3 billion in additional health measures in tonight’s Budget.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said COVID-19 safety measures were the “first priority” of the government.
The largest chunk of this, $1.9 billion, will be invested over five years into Australia’s delay-plagued vaccination rollout.
The funding injection will help Australian health authorities distribute and administer vaccines, record and monitor data, and support the states and territories.
The Budget also provided for the purchase of extra vaccine doses, which the government said would bring Australia’s total stockpile to 170 million.
A further $1.5 billion will be provided for other COVID-19 measures, including funding for telehealth, coronavirus testing, and support for remote communities.
This will include $7.1 million for the Beyond Blue COVID-19 Mental Wellbeing Support Service, and $11.2 million to support Indigenous communities in regional and remote Australia.
Telehealth services will be extended until December this year with a further $204.6 million investment.
A hefty $487 million over two years will be invested expanding quarantine services at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory, which the government has previously held up as the ideal such facility.
Another $557.1 million will go towards ongoing COVID-19 testing, including funding for Medicare Benefits Schedule pathology items.
And healthcare workers will be bolstered by a $29.9 million investment in the National Medical Stockpile, which provides access to personal protective equipment.
“This pandemic is far from over … but, Australia is now well on the road to recovery,” Mr Frydenberg said.