COVID-19 pandemic response continues to press on budget

Australian taxpayers will fork out $392.5 million to support the nation's response to COVID-19 and pay for vaccines and treatments.

The multimillion-dollar commitment over four years was revealed in the mid-year budget update released on Wednesday.

On top of the vaccine and treatment program, $317.4 million is being set aside to continue helping aged care providers manage the virus and protect older Australians in residential facilities.

The pandemic event visa, which allowed people to remain temporarily in Australia if they were working or had a job offer, will be closed at a cost of $1.5 billion.

In the budget update, the government expects the measure will decrease receipts by $2 billion and decrease GST payments to the states and territories by $450 million over the next five years.

Any pandemic visa applied for from September 2, 2023 will only be valid for six months and will cost $405.

The visa will be closed to all applicants from February 2024, with a staged closure planned to give people enough time to make alternative visa arrangements, or leave Australia.

The government will spend $27.3 million to extend the end date for the receipt of claims under the COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme to the end of September 2024.

Doctors and healthcare workers will be provided with an extra $3.8 million until June 2024, to undertake telehealth consultations and evaluate whether patients are suitable for oral antivirals.

New cancer initiatives, including the Cancer Nursing and Navigation Program, and other existing options will be funded under a $184.9 million commitment to ensure people battling the life-threatening condition have access to high-quality care.

Mental health services will receive a much-needed boost under a $483.7 million package.

This includes extending national crisis and support services Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Kids Helpline and 13YARN.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store