2022-23 TAS Budget Delivered
“The Budget will continue to focus on what matters to Tasmanians: health, education, housing, and building safe, inclusive, thriving communities,” Premier Jeremy Rockliffe
“While we welcome the initiatives announced today, we are concerned that many of them will be unachievable unless we can address the existing workforce challenges that we’re seeing right across the mental health sector,” Mental Health Council of Tasmania CEO Connie Digolis
“To suggest that we’re going to address rising cost of living pressures without delivering wage growth for workers is fantasy and will put a handbrake on our local economy,” Unions Tasmania Secretary Jessica Munday
Whilst these investments are welcome, unions warn that a public sector wage increase of 2.5 percent – below expected consumer price index rises – will compound existing workforce attraction and retention challenges across the state.
OTA will continue to highlight to government the vital work of occupational therapists, including in the four key areas of mental health and wellbeing, aged care, primary care, and disability identified in OTA’s 2022 Election Playbook.
To access the State Budget Papers in full, go to https://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/budget-and-financial-management/2022-23-tasmanian-budget.
OTA has prepared a snapshot of the budget measures most relevant to occupational therapists. Click on the headings below for each section.
- Health System
- Mental Health and Wellbeing
- Hospital and Health Infrastructure
- Community Health
- Older Adults
- Gender Equality
The 2022-23 Budget commits $6 million over four years to meet the increase in demand for professional experience placements with the Department of Health and the Department of Education under the University of Tasmania’s new Allied Health Expansion Program.
The Allied Health Education and Training Program will provide capacity for more local placements of UTAS students (including physiotherapy and occupational therapy) so that Tasmania will become successful in growing and retaining its own allied health professional workforce.
OTA welcomes this initiative, which was called for in OTA’s pre-budget submission to the Tasmanian Government. View OTA’s submission on the OTA website here.
The 2022-23 Tasmanian Budget invests $11.2 billion in health over four years, including an average health spend of $7.25 million per day and accounting for a third of the Budget’s total operating expenditure.
This includes an initial investment of $150 million over four years in a new strategy to improve patient outcome through digital health. The Tasmanian Government anticipates over $475 million will be allocated to this project to 2032, as the strategy is further scoped and developed.
Other key initiatives:
- $196.4 million over four years to deliver 30,000 extra elective surgeries and endoscopies, as well as by a $12.1 million investment in Public Private partnerships to enhance capacity;
- $50 million this year to maintain new beds fast-tracked ahead of the border changes in December 2021;
- $17.7 million over four years for the Safe Staffing Model for Tasmanian District Hospitals to increase the mix of skills available to those accessing care in rural and regional areas;
- $7.2 million over four years on the Outpatient Transformation Program to implement innovative service models to ensure timelier best practice services; and
- $3.8 million over four years to boost staffing at district hospitals in New Norfolk, West Coast, St Helen’s, Swansea and Scottsdale.
The Budget also makes a number of investments upgrade ambulance stations and vehicle and recruit new paramedics.
For more information, view the media release on strengthening Tasmania’s health system here.
The Tasmanian Government is continuing the rollout of its $45.2 million investment for Child and Adolescent Mental Health reforms.
It is also continuing to implement the recommendations of the Roy Fagan Centre Review report, investing $20.5 million over the next four years for Older Persons Mental Health Services.
The 2022-23 Budget commits:
- $9 million over three years to fund the Emergency Mental Health Co-response model in Southern Tasmania, as well as to start work on a pilot in the North West;
- $7.5 million over two years to continue the implementation of the Reform Agenda for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Sector in Tasmania which aims to reduce the harms associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs;
- $6.5 million over two years for the ongoing Mental Health Reform Program, enabling rollout of adult Acute Care and Continuing Care models in the North and North West and providing alternative services for people to avoid acute hospitalisation where this is not necessary;
- $1.5 million over three years to continue the implementation and evaluation of Tasmania’s overarching mental health plan, Rethink 2020, with a particular focus on suicide prevention;
- $1.27 million has been allocated over four years to support the new, whole-of-government Tasmanian Drug Strategy 2022-27; and
- $900,000 over four years, to support the Drug Education Network to provide educational services and early intervention and prevention programs.
For more information, view the media release on strengthening Tasmania’s mental health and wellbeing system here.
The 2022-23 Budget includes $654 million over four years to deliver health infrastructure projects.
This includes $73.4 million for the Royal Hobart Hospital Redevelopment Stage 2 projects, with $110 million to expand their scope, including an expanded ICU, expanded Emergency Department, a fit-for-purpose older persons unit and new Neurology/Stroke and Medical sub-specialties wards.
In the North, the Tasmanian Government is progressing its previous $580 million commitment over 10 years to the Launceston General Hospital Redevelopment, which will deliver a new Mental Health Facility and a new tower on the current site.
In the North West, this Budget progresses the Tasmanian Government’s planned $100 million Redevelopment of the North West Regional Hospital, including $40 million for Stage 1 of a new Mental Health precinct and $20 million for refurbishment of the Spencer wing.
This Budget also commits an additional $20 million for the Mersey Community hospital to provide a new kitchen and additional ward.
This Budget emphasises the need to balance acute and primary care and invests in a number of reforms to support the provision of care in the community. Key initiatives include:
- $30 million over four years for the Community Rapid Response (hospital-in-the-home) Service which has now been rolled out in all regions;
- $12 million over four years strengthen in-home palliative care and after-hours services to improve end of life care;
- $1.4 million over four years to extend the scope of the Tasmanian Child Health and Parenting Service to better support vulnerable parents; and
- $290,000 over four years for the Motor Neuron Association and $200,000 over two years for the Muscular Dystrophy Association to support people living with these diseases.
For more information, view the media release on strengthening access to community care here.
The 2022-23 State Budget invests significantly in social and affordable housing and homelessness initiatives, with $204 million this year and a total of $538 million over four years.
- Funding to establish the new Housing Authority (subject to passing legislation) which will be tasked with building and 1,169 homes in 2022, and a total of 10,000 new homes by 2032;
- $15 million this year to extend the Headworks Holiday Program which provides a residential land rebate to increase availability of land supply for new housing;
- $9.25 million over three years to expand the Private Rental Incentives program; and
- $2.5 million this year to increase housing supply with the Ancillary Dwelling Grant Program;
For further information, view the media release on social and affordable housing here.
This Budget includes $400,000 over four years to establish the first Tasmanian Disability Services Commissioner (in addition to $1.2 million over four years announced in the previous budget). This is in addition to existing commitments, including over $1 billion over four years for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
For more information, view the media release on supporting Tasmanians with a disability here.
The 2022-23 State Budget commits $1.235 million to support older Tasmanians to participate and connect with their community. This includes funding to deliver the 2023-29 Tasmanian Active Ageing Strategy, as well as $80,000 over two years for Council on the Aging (COTA) Tasmania to promote and support workplaces to recruit and retain older workers.
For more information, view the media release on supporting older Tasmanians to participate in the community here.
In a first for the Tasmanian Government, the 2022-23 Budget includes a Gender Equality Statement which highlights how the budget is targeting areas of inequality experienced by women, men and gender diverse Tasmanians. This is a key initiative in the Tasmanian Women’s Strategy 2022-2027.
Key funding commitments include:
- $800,000 over four years to implement other key initiatives in the Tasmanian Women’s Strategy 2022-27; and
- $700,000 over two years to continue the Women's Workforce Participation initiative, through the Supporting Women to Succeed grant program.
For further information, view the media release on achieving gender outcomes here.