The Federal Government has delivered its 2022-23 Budget, set against the backdrop of growing inflationary pressures, conflict in Europe, ongoing pandemic impacts, and a Federal election in May.

Key initiatives include a cost-of-living package, small business tax incentives, support for apprentices and $17.9 billion of priority road and rail infrastructure.

For health users, the news is mixed.

Some initiatives are welcome…

Medical research and access have been addressed in part through initiatives such as $375.6 million to help establish the Western Australian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Perth and $28.1 million to establish Genomics Australia. There is $131.3 million to update the MBS, including new genetic testing items for the genetic conditions cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy and fragile X syndrome.

A new Connecting Regional Australia initiative is welcome, providing $811.8 million to address mobile blackspots, protect infrastructure against natural disasters, and encourage new technology trials. Better connectivity is critical for successful uptake of digital health.

…but more is needed

We believe more support is needed for consumers in research. The pandemic has driven home the critical role health and medical research plays in our health and wellbeing. It is essential to involve consumers in health research as partners, not just as participants. Read our ideas here.

Prevention and primary care are also underdone in this Budget. While $56 million to support Primary Health Networks to commission after-hours health care services and address broader drivers of after-hours demand is welcome, as are commitments to Lifeline and endometriosis treatment, there is significant room to improve on Australia’s long-term commitment to preventing illness in the first instance. More support is needed to support wage increases for age care workers.

Similarly, Governments acknowledge, and reviews have shown, that consumer-centric health care delivers better outcomes (a,b), but embedding consumer participation across the health sector is still a work-in-progress. (c)

MRFF Investment Plan

Also of significance is the simultaneous release of the 2nd Medical Research Future Fund 10-year Investment Plan (2022-23 to 2031-32), which identifies where MRFF money will be directed over the next 10 years.

The ‘patients’ theme includes $1.4 billion over 10 years from 2022-23, representing a further $117.4 million, to support patients by:

  1. funding innovative treatments;
  2. supporting clinical trials; and
  3. delivering more advanced health care and medical technology.

HIC supporting consumers

HIC looks forward to engaging with government on future policy and funding initiatives that seek to better engage consumers and ultimately deliver better health outcomes for all Australians.

As a trusted advocate for the consumer voice, HIC understands the enablers and barriers to the active participation of consumers in their own health care and in policy formulation participation.

We will continue to work towards a range of initiatives to better support consumers, including:

  • Continued embedding of consumer perspectives in health policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation.
  • The application of best practice engagement models to engage with those who are seldom heard – the disadvantaged, the marginalized and the vulnerable.
  • Direct investment in both sides of the research partnership, including direct support for consumers to participate in research design, delivery, and translation into better health outcomes.
  • Investment in digital infrastructure to ultimately bridge the digital health divide.


[a] Future of health: shifting Australia’s focus from illness treatment to health and wellbeing management. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Retrieved from https://www. September 2019

[b] Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce, An MBS for the 21st Century: Recommendations, Learnings and Ideas for the Future – Final Report to the Minister for Health,’ December 2020: