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ESSA Statement: Overview of the 2018-19 Federal Budget

Last night saw Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, hand down the 2018-2019 Federal Budget. Anita Hobson-Powell, Chief Executive Officer of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), offers a breakdown of how it will affect those in the exercise and sports science industry.

“The Budget reflects the Government’s commitment to building a more active Australia. Participation in physical activity is vital for the health and well-being of all Australians, and is foundational to the Government’s National Sports Plan to be released this year.”

“The Government has committed to investing $230 million to implement a range of sport and physical activity initiatives that will get more Australians more active, more often.”

“We are particularly interested in the new participation grants that will support sporting and physical activity organisations to design and deliver initiatives that will get less active Australians moving. However, we are disappointed to see the Government only putting a target of a 1% change in participating rates.”

In addition, the Government will invest $10.1 million to protect the integrity of Australian sport while the Government fully considers the suite of recommendations from the independent Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements.

“This interim boost to our national anti-doping and criminal intelligence capabilities will help protect the reputation of Australian sport, and preserve the role sport plays in delivering social, economic and health benefits to all Australians.”

Provider compliance

There will also be a focus to see changes to behaviour across the health professions, as the Professional Services Review (PSR) seeks to deter inappropriate practice and raise awareness of the Australian Government’s expectation of high quality health service delivery, to safeguard the public against the risks and costs of inappropriate practice by health practitioners.

“The PSR reviews and investigates health practitioners who are suspected of inappropriate practice, and the scheme covers all Medicare recognised health professionals including exercise physiologists.”

“Accredited exercise physiologists should take this time to consider their clinical decision making to ensure they align with all regulatory bodies they receive funding from.”

What’s the good news for aged care?

My Aged Care will be improved with an investment of $61.7 million to make it easier to use, along with simplifying the forms required to apply for aged care services. In addition, $7.4 million will also be provided to trial navigators to assist people to choose the aged care services that suit their needs.

“This investment will allow consumers to have more funding in aged care to be able to access the services of an accredited exercise physiologist.”

Click here for a fact sheet from the Government on Supporting Choice and a Healthy Long Life in aged care.

But what is missing from the Budget?

The Federal Budget sees that there is no investment in future healthcare outcomes – i.e. no money for primary prevention besides the National Sports Plan.

“Once again, the Budget is focusing on doctors and nurses, with funding to get only doctors out to regional and remote areas. No funding has been invested to support the allied health workforce who are needed in these regions.”

The Budget also failed to address the ongoing issue around the inequity of exercise physiologists having to charge GST.


For more information:
Anita Hobson-Powell
ESSA Chief Executive Officer