The Commonwealth Government’s new budget, released on 6 October 2020, will commit $21million in the next 5 years to implement some of the key actions listed in the national Roadmap for Hearing Health in Australia.
- $5million for a public hearing health awareness and prevention campaign
- $7million for research into interventions to support vulnerable people
- $5million for early identification of hearing and speech difficulties in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- $2million for improving the workforce in Aged Care settings to support people with hearing loss
- $600thousand to be shared by developing tele-audiology standards and studies into improving the hearing health workforce, particularly outside metropolitan centres
It’s a very significant achievement for the Hearing Health Sector Alliance, of which Deafness Forum is a foundation member. The Alliance was formed two years ago to encourage the Government to implement the Roadmap for Hearing Health. Its membership is representative of the various parts of the hearing health and ear care sector. Consumers are represented in the Alliance by Deafness Forum of Australia, Better Hearing Australia National and First Voice Australasia.
The Minister responsible for Hearing Health, Mark Coulton (pictured) has done a great thing for hearing health and ear care in this country by championing the funding of these important initiatives. And while we don’t wish to tarnish the achievement, there is little here to address the issue that most concerns consumers – device affordability. Improving the frequency and quality of captions in public communications is a battle still to be won.