Heart Foundation welcomes heart health initiatives in Federal Budget

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The Heart Foundation strongly welcomes several positive heart health initiatives in the Federal Budget.

“Last night’s investment of $125 million for heart and diabetes research, and $230 million for promoting a healthy and active Australia, are particularly welcome,” said Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly.

“We are also delighted to see $550 million to increase the number of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals in rural areas to help meet the complex and chronic disease needs of people in the bush.”

The $125 million chronic disease fund focusing on cardiovascular and diabetes research will form part of a $1.3 billion Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan.

The Government will also encourage more Australians to get more active, more often, with a $230 million package over five years. This includes $28.9 million in participation grants for sport and physical activity organisations to target less active Australians, and $22.9 million to increase physical activity for older Australians.

“Physical inactivity is a huge risk factor for ill health in Australia, and we’re very pleased to see investment in getting Australians active enough for good health. This will provide more opportunities for participation in sports by people of all ages and abilities, and recognises an urgent need to prevent poor health through more exercise,” said Professor Kelly.

A National Sport Plan was also flagged in last night’s Budget, with details to be released mid-year.

“The Heart Foundation hopes that a National Sport Plan will bring about a landmark change in the remit for the Australian Sports Commission, giving it new responsibilities for physical activity beyond organised sport,” Professor Kelly said.

“We also particularly welcome increased support to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with funding for Indigenous health, which includes $4.8 million to eradicate ‘crusted scabies’, which can lead to rheumatic heart disease.”  

The budget provides $3.9 billion 2018-19 to 2021-22 and $10 billion over a decade, including delivering $33.4 million for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce, to better support the Government’s efforts to Close the Gap.

To improve access to doctors, nurses and health care services for regional Australians, the Government has invested $550 million in a Stronger Rural Health Strategy. This aims to provide around 3,000 more specialist GPs for rural Australia, more than 3,000 extra nurses in rural general practice and hundreds more allied health professionals over 10 years.

About the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. For close to 60 years, its led the battle to save lives and improve the heart health of all Australians. Its sights are set on a world where people don’t suffer or die prematurely because of heart disease. To find out more about the Heart Foundation’s research program or to make a donation, visit www.heartfoundation.org.au or call 13 11 12.