Labor pledges nearly $1 billion more for Medicare ahead of election

Labor said the Strengthening Medicare Fund would be spent on the recommendations of a task force chaired by the new health minister and made up of top medical agencies, including the AMA and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, who lobbied for the funding.

Improving access to and affordability of primary care physicians, including out-of-hours, would be a priority, with the inclusion of patients to enable “better management of complex and chronic conditions”, reduce pressure on hospitals and deliver care through a “multidisciplinary team” including nursing and allied health care.

Morrison will announce a $20 million plan on Saturday to expand a sports program to high school students in Years 9 and 10, through 35 national sports organizations, including Netball Australia, AFL, Cricket Australia, Hockey Australia and Surfing Australia.

“Involving more young people in sports will help our children stay active, build trust and allow families to reconnect with community sports clubs as we recover from the pandemic,” the prime minister said.

“It also creates opportunities and connections to support those students who want to make their sporting dreams come true.”

Sporting Schools, which offers free sports-based activities to students of all levels and also helps identify promising young athletes, is currently only available until Year 8.

Expansion of the program aims to address the decline in sports participation, physical activity and social connectivity among older high school students, especially girls.

Morrison will also announce $4.8 million in grants of up to $5,000 to help life-saving surf clubs purchase life-saving equipment such as defibrillators and rescue boards.

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