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Boost to health measures agreed at national cabinet

Health, housing, the NDIS, and skill shortages are priorities for discussion at national cabinet.

Health, housing, the NDIS, and skill shortages are priorities for discussion at national cabinet. Photo: AAP

National cabinet has agreed to a suite of health measures in an effort to make medical services more accessible.

State and territory leaders met with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Brisbane on Friday and endorsed plans to improve access to after-hours care for patients, as well as expanding the number of nurses in the workforce.

A patient ID system called MyMedicare will be introduced as part of six reform measures outlined at national cabinet.

The measures include more than $2 billion spent on health in the federal budget, including support for workers such as paramedics and pharmacists.

Mr Albanese said health would be the main focus for national cabinet for 2023, with reform in the sector to be discussed at a meeting in the last quarter of the year.

“One of the things identified is patients who will regularly turn up at emergency departments. We want to make sure that there is registration there so we can reach out,” he told reporters on Friday.

National cabinet also discussed the National Disability Insurance Scheme, committing to a framework to ensure it is made more financially viable.

Mr Albanese said the NDIS was not sustainable at present and it was set to be the biggest cost to the federal budget.

More than $720 million has been committed to boost the capability of the agency in charge of the scheme to better support participants.

“We need to have a sustainable growth trajectory for the NDIS in order to support equity and fairness for all Australians who are living with disability, including those not eligible for the NDIS,” Mr Albanese said.

“We want to make sure that the promise of the NDIS is fulfilled.”

The NDIS framework calls for a target of no more than eight per cent annual growth in the scheme’s costs by July 2026.

State and territory leaders also agreed to support plans for national cabinet to develop reforms for improving the rights of renters.

“What we’re not seeking to do is to be absolutely uniform because different states will have different circumstances, but there are measures and commitments every state and territory is doing something in this area,” Mr Albanese said.

“There are a range of measures that will be considered by state and territory governments to strengthen the system of renters’ rights.”

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley earlier said the Medicare system needed more support.

“Wrangling the state premiers has become a bit of a national sport,” she said.

“People need access to doctors, and absolutely, that discussion today is a vital one. We do need to have our healthcare system back where it was.”

It was the first national cabinet meeting for newly elected NSW Premier Chris Minns, leaving Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff as the only Liberal leader in the group.

National cabinet also discussed national skills agreements, the transition towards net-zero, as well as support for the Indigenous voice referendum.

– AAP

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