Government Delivers Tough Love Budget

Even before the budget was handed down small and medium IT businesses were keen to remind the Government about the long term importance of programmes such as the NBN, which they clearly did not want trimmed.

According to Karl Sice, general manager at Acronis;

“Big investments in technology which free up commerce and enable growth are good news for the economy and to future proof it. Recent examples, such as the NBN, provide companies and particularly small to medium businesses like those which Acronis serves, unprecedented access to market opportunities and geographies which weren’t previously possible to cover.”

Treated as an investment rather than a budget item the Gillard Government’s first Budget proved a largely NBN-free zone.

It did however continue to focus on health related spending led by a $2.2 billion five year programme to improve the delivery of mental health services, $1.8 billion over six years on health infrastructure for the regions, and $740 million over five years to provide affordable access to medicines and technologies.

ICT services provider CSC Australia welcomed the health sector initiatives. According to Lisa Pettigrew, CSC’s National Director for Health Services; “We recognise the importance of electronic health records for mental health consumers, who need to be able to track what happens across the continuum of care from community and home to acute settings. It is important for all Australians, and particularly mental health consumers, to have choice and control over their own health records.”

She added that the investment of $14.4 million over five years to consolidate mental health websites and provide e-therapy services to an additional 45,000 consumers was important. “Continued funding of this magnitude is a major step towards empowering Australian consumers and the health system towards achieving a healthier population and a sustainable health system.”

Ms Pettigrew added that; “e-health is also crucial to regional health and CSC welcomes the Government’s announced spending of $1.8 billion for regional health services. In a tough budget year, it is heartening to see the government’s commitment to e-health is unwavering.

“The e-health reality created by this government in last year’s budget will ensure that the modernising of Australia’s health system will be underway by 1 July 2012.”