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12 May. 2021

AADC Federal Budget 2021-2022 Briefing

The Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council (AADC) has summarised measures from the Federal Budget 2021-22 relevant to the alcohol and other drugs sector and the communities we support. 

Equal Remuneration Order 

This federal budget confirms $16.8 million in funding over the coming two years to address the cessation of Social and Community Services (SACS) Wage Supplementation beyond 30 June 2021.  This goes to alcohol and other drug services currently receiving funding through the Drug and Alcohol Program for Equal Remuneration Order (ERO).     

Prevention and early intervention 

The budget includes investment of $250.9 million over four years in prevention and early intervention associated with the implementation of the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030, which is currently being finalised.  ‘Reducing tobacco use’ and ‘Reducing alcohol and other drug harm’ are two of seven focus areas for boosting action in the draft Strategy.  This total investment includes $74.1 million for alcohol and other drug services, with:

• $16.8 million to replace ERO funding (as above)
• $5.9 for the Good Sports Program through more than 400 additional sporting clubs
• $1.5 million to continue to support the Hello Sunday Morning Daybreak Program, and
• $49.9 million for additional alcohol and other drug treatment services to Cashless Debit Card participants and their communities.

Digital access 

There is investment of $204.6 million in continued access to telehealth until 31 December 2021, for services including: specialist; GP; nursing; allied health; and mental health attendances. Changes will be made to exempt certain patient cohorts from the previous requirement of a pre-existing relationship with a doctor to access telehealth for consultations including: smoking cessation; section 100 PBS prescriptions; and, drug and alcohol counselling. 

Take Home Naloxone Pilot 

The Take Home Naloxone (THN) pilot program will continue for an additional year in NSW, SA, and WA.  More than 36,500 units of naloxone have been supplied for free and without prescription during the pilot, with interim evaluations showing this has saved lives. Further evaluation will be done over the extension period to inform future decisions about establishing a national THN program. 

National peak body funding 

There is again no provision for funding for the Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council.  We continue to engage constructively with the Department of Health in our search for sustainability in support of sector representation. 

Published by AADC on 12 May, 2021.