Australia live news: national cabinet to tackle healthcare funding; $3.4bn for ‘disruptive’ defence tech | Australia news

Key events

National cabinet meets in Brisbane

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

The national cabinet will meet in Brisbane today to discuss health, the national disability insurance scheme, better planning for migration, and the Voice referendum

While the states are expected to once again lobby for 50-50 hospital funding, the federal government has announced ahead of the meeting that that will improve access to after-hours care as part of its response to the strengthening Medicare taskforce report.

The current funding for after-hours programs through primary health networks terminates at the end of this financial year, as the Morrison government left the service underfunded.

The Albanese government will provide funding to support Primary Health Networks working with local primary care providers to provide after-hours care, including by addressing service gaps in regional areas and making improvements to Healthdirect.

Funding will also support new PHN programs with local community organisations that will increase access to primary care services for culturally and linguistically diverse Australians and people experiencing homelessness in the community.

The health minister, Mark Butler, said:

After nine years of cuts and neglect, Medicare is in its worst shape in 40 years. The former government froze the Medicare rebate for six years, ripping billions of dollars out of primary care and causing gap fees to skyrocket.

We said at the election that there was no higher priority for Labor in the health portfolio than strengthening Medicare and rebuilding general practice.”

The Albanese government is making it easier for Australians to see a doctor when they need it. Being able to access a doctor after hours is critical for patients to get they need, when they need it, taking the pressure off hospitals. The Albanese Government is committed to investing in general practice and strengthening Medicare.”


Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll be bringing you some overnight breaking stories before my colleague comes along to take the reins.

Our lead this morning is on former governor-general Peter Hollingworth and complaints about his handling of child abuse complaints when he was Brisbane archbishop. The Anglican church’s complaints body has spent more than five years considering complaints about Hollingworth’s inaction on child abuse but two women have requested the church review its decision not to defrock him, saying they were “sickened” by the outcome.

We’ve also got two strong stories about gambling, with the government about to ban gamblers from using credit cards for online betting – reckoned to be about 20% of deposits in wagering accounts. New legislation banning the payment method is expected within months. Meanwhile, bookies Ladbrokes and Neds have become the first companies to be fined for accepting in-play bets after a game has begun.

And it’s national cabinet day today with Anthony Albanese meeting state and territory leaders in Brisbane to discuss health funding and the expansion of urban areas, among other issues. We’ve got some details about exactly what to expect coming right up, along with another announcement on defence spending today: billions set aside for research into cutting edge, ‘disruptive’ technology.

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