Positive steps for reproductive health, but women’s voices are needed

Australian Women’s Health Alliance 2024 – 2025 Federal Budget Response

Women’s health advocates have welcomed a suite of budget measures which will create targeted and long-term change for reproductive health but say the voices of many women are missing.

“There’s still a long way to go to address gendered bias in healthcare, we’re only just scratching the service,” said Australian Women’s Health Alliance Chair Bonney Corbin.

Significant investment in gynaecology consultations and breast cancer medication

The Australian Women’s Health Alliance has welcomed the major investment of $49.1 million for long gynaecology consultations for patients with complex conditions like endometriosis and PCOS.

Investment in breast cancer will see 2,400 people benefit through $406 million funding for breast cancer medication.

“Women often spend months or years waiting for specialist care and struggle to afford their appointments: this measure will provide more realistic appointment timeframes and reduce the financial barriers,” said Bonney Corbin.

“PBS access to critical breast cancer medication will be a relief for people across Australia experiencing early breast cancer,” she said.

Investment in research and structural reforms

The Alliance noted that further groundwork is being done for longer term changes, including a gender audit of Medicare rebates, review of diagnostic imaging and long-acting reversible contraception rebates, as well as investment of $8.0 million over 4 years for the development of datasets on miscarriages and sexual and reproductive health.

These are measures that will create a foundation for longer-term improvements to equity in healthcare by addressing structural factors that disadvantage women and gender diverse people, such as gender discrimination in Medicare rebate structures, and a lack of national data of miscarriage and abortion which is needed for health system planning.

“These initiatives demonstrate positive steps are being taken to build an evidence base on Australian reproductive health and wellbeing,” said Bonney Corbin.

“This budget is a signal that the Government is willing to act on the structure of the health system, not just one-off projects, to make it work for women and gender diverse people.”

Uncertainty of ongoing funding for a national peak body on women’s health

The Alliance called out the uncertainty of ongoing funding for a national peak body on women’s health, meaning that only select voices will be heard in national conversations.

The Australian Women’s Health Alliance has been the national voice for women’s health for more than 35 years, however, funding ceases next year.

“Australian women are calling out for more to be done for their health. With so many reforms under way, hearing their voices has never been more important. Years of leaving women out of the design of the system is how inequity was built into our healthcare in the first place,” said Bonney Corbin.

“Over the past year we have seen thousands of women come forward sharing their experiences of gendered health discrimination. In coming years, we need to continue platforming those voices, learn from their struggles and resource the solutions.”

Women’s health investment welcome in community-controlled care

The Alliance also welcomed targeted investments aimed at delivering universal access to reproductive healthcare, including $12.5 million for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to deliver free period products in remote communities and $5.6 million over 2 years for the extension of the Health in My Language bilingual health education program.

“It’s heartening to see investment that addresses structural inequity for women experiencing intersectional disadvantage,” said Bonney Corbin.

“Women’s health funding for community-controlled health services signals a critical move towards gender equity.”

Modest investments in sexual and reproductive health given the cost of living crisis

The announcements come alongside more modest investments, including $5.2 million over 3 years to train GPs to insert IUDs, $1.2 million over 2 years for health practitioner training to provide menopause care, $1.1 million over 4 years for the development of a national decision-making resource on contraception, and $7 million over 4 years for development of miscarriage education and awareness materials, and to provide funding for bereavement care services.

“Together, this package will create longer term improvements to sexual and reproductive health access,” said Bonney Corbin.

“The Senate Committee is yet to publish their recommendations on the current Menopause Inquiry. Funding held aside from this budget must consider further investments in menopause care and research.”

“At a time where we are facing global push back on reproductive rights, we must address the reproductive health affordability issues across every postcode in Australia.”

“In a cost of living crisis, reproductive health costs will still be unaffordable for many people in Australia today.”

Quotes attributable to Bonney Corbin, Chair, Australian Women’s Health Alliance.


Media interviews: Bonney Corbin 0402634245 or Dr Romy Listo 0437225035.

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