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Tuesday’s federal budget will include almost $354 million for women’s health, with funding for conditions such as endometriosis and increased screening for breast and cervical cancers.

Key points:

  • More than $100 million has been allocated to improving cervical and breast cancer screening programs
  • More than $47 million will go to services specialising in perinatal depression, and there is almost $27 million to combat eating disorders
  • $21.6 million is going towards women’s health initiatives, including education and pain management programs targeting endometriosis

The federal government has been promising an increased focus on women in this year’s economic blueprint. The funding boost, spread over four years, will also go towards improving access to mental health services for new and expectant mothers.

“It’s about healthy mums, healthy bubs, healthy women and healthy girls, and there’s not much more important a gift we can have on Mother’s Day,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

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More than $100 million has been allocated to improving cervical and breast cancer screening programs, aiming to lift Australia’s already strong survival rates.

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The minister said breast cancer would also be targeted in the funding package, with more than 3,000 Australian women losing their lives to the disease every year.

“We’re expanding the BreastScreen program. It will now cover ages 40 to 74 on a permanent basis,” he said.

“This will give better access for more women and give more women access to mammograms.”

Funding necessary for ongoing health of Australian women: Hunt

More than $47 million will go to services specialising in perinatal depression, and there is almost $27 million to combat eating disorders.

$95.9 million is being spent on screening of embryos for abnormalities during the IVF process, and $13.7 million is being allocated to reduce pre-term birth rates – particularly among Indigenous communities.

$21.6 million is going towards women’s health initiatives, including education and pain management programs targeting endometriosis, which affects one in nine Australian women.

“We know that this is an agonising condition. It was previously an unspoken of and hidden condition,” Mr Hunt said.

“We are talking about it as a country.”

Mr Hunt argued the funding was necessary to ensure the ongoing health of Australian women and should not be viewed as an attempt by the government to fix a perceived “women’s problem”.

“There’s always more than we can do,” Mr Hunt said.

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