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Budget 2023: Cute moment when Jim Chalmers greets his family during the budget


An adorable moment between Jim Chalmers and his young daughter was captured during budget night.

The treasurer was under enormous pressure on Tuesday when he handed over the government’s second budget in less than a year.

The budget will see a much-needed increase in job seekers’ pay and a small increase in rent assistance, while handing over a small but short-lived surplus for the first time in 15 years.

After giving his speech, he was greeted by his family who were waiting for him in the House of Representatives in the parliament building.

Dr. Chalmers hugged his daughter Annabel, five, as his wife Laura watched, grinning.

It is the second time young Annabel has taken center stage in a budget announcement, she sat in the public gallery with her mother when Dr Chalmer’s delivered Labour’s first budget in October last year.

The “centrepiece of this budget” is tripling the incentive for bulk billing by Medicare.

Chalmers has pledged the “biggest-ever” increase in bulk billing incentives in a bid to make GP appointments more affordable and ease pressure on emergency departments across the country.

As a “chapter” of its second budget, the Albanian government will spend $3.5 million to significantly increase these incentives to entice more primary care physicians to offer free consultations to eligible patients.

The treasurer made the financial commitment as he addressed Australians from the floor of parliament on Tuesday evening in a speech revealing the Albanian government’s second budget.

Dr. Chalmers said Australian families grappling with the cost-of-living crisis are being forced to make a “lose-lose” choice between getting the medical help they need or paying their bills.

“This robs parents of peace of mind; it puts pressure on families,” he said.

“It means more problems are going undiagnosed or untreated.”

The increased premiums will be paid to GPs who bulk bill 11.6 million eligible Australians, including children under 16, pensioners and other concession card holders.

GPs can claim the higher premiums for face-to-face consultations of more than 6 minutes and certain telehealth consultations.

Bulk billing is when a doctor accepts a Medicare rebate from the federal government as full payment for a consultation and does not charge patients an additional “gap” fee for the service.

Family physicians who bulk bill patients in the city will receive a new $20.65 incentive compared to the old $6.60 rate.

Regional GPs receive an incentive of $31.40, an increase of $10.05.

In the most remote parts of Australia, the incentive will more than double from $12.70 to $39.65.

An increase in the bulk billing incentive was a key demand from the Royal College of General Practitioners, one of two requests agreed to by the government in this federal budget.

The RACGP was also successful in advocating a Medicare rebate for GP consultations longer than 60 minutes, higher than the previous 40-minute limit.

But Tuesday’s budget includes only a modest increase in Medicare rebates, despite long-running demands from doctors for a substantial increase to keep pace with inflation.

The RACGP has argued that the rebates GPs receive from the federal government for their services are so low that in many cases it is simply not possible to bulk bill patients.

Even Australians who usually pay out of pocket for their GP appointments may have noticed that costs have risen as they are charged higher costs as the cost of living continues to bite.

Treasury Secretary Katy Gallagher admitted on Tuesday that the small increase in general Medicare rebates was the result of automatic indexing and not additional funding from the government.

She said the government chose to boost bulk billing incentives as a priority investment that it “had room for” in the budget.

The increase in incentives should be seen in the context of a “major” health reform package budgeted, she said.

Tuesday’s budget includes $5.7 billion over five years as an initial investment to provide better access and more affordable care for patients in response to the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report.

The report came last year in response to an investigation by a government-appointed expert group into the faltering Medicare system and the problems in general practice.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.