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Federal Budget 2017-2018

The federal budget is the government’s primary opportunity to set the conditions under which people will pursue full, meaningful and rewarding lives.

Everyone has the right to an environment - social, economic and natural - in which it is possible to flourish and thrive. Therefore, the success of any budget is measured by its social impact as well as its economic consequences.

Read the AASW's briefing paper: Federal budget 2017-2018

Federal budget 2017-2018 - Social workers

The 2017 budget papers contain several items of relevance to our members. These include:

Accredited mental health social workers - Medicare Benefits indexation
The government will be phasing out the freeze on the indexation of certain items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The freeze was imposed in 2012; and the phasing out will occur over four years. Allied Health services will be indexed from 1 July 2019.

Accredited mental health social workers - Telehealth
The budget papers confirm the announcement that was made in mid April that people living in remote locations will be able to use online video conferencing for some of their Medicare rebateable sessions provided by Accredited Mental Health Social Workers. Further information is available on our website:

Identifying and managing risk among children in the Family court
The government is making funding available over the next four years to employ specialist family consultants (which will include qualified social workers and psychologists) to use child-focussed interventions in families where there are allegations of family violence or child abuse.

Expanded range of mental health conditions for which veterans can seek treatment.
The government announced a $350 million investment to support veterans. Veterans can now seek treatment for any condition listed on the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, irrespective of whether the treated condition is linked to military service.

We will provide more information on all the above initiatives as soon as it becomes available.

Media releases

3 May 2017: Balanced budget should not be at vulnerable people’s expense

9 May 2017: Budget further entrenches people into poverty: AASW

Key events

Representatives from the AASW will be attending the following events:

- Budget-night Department of Health Briefing in Canberra
- ACOSS Budget breakfast with Treasurer Scott Morrison

Position statements and policy submissions

The AASW has communicated to the government on key budget issues through the following statements and policy submissions.

Financial security

Economic participation

Mental health services for older people

Housing and homelessness

Access to justice

More information

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers