Federal Budget 2024-2025


On 14 May 2024, the Treasurer the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers handed down the Federal Budget.  Public Pathology Australia participated in the Health Portfolio Budget Briefing with the Minister for Health and Aged Care the Hon Mark Butler MP, the Hon Anika Wells MP, the Hon Ged Kearney MP, the Hon Emma McBride MP and Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy and also met with members from the Department of Health.

In addition to the budget announcements below, PPA will be working with the Department as part of a targeted review of funding pathology services. This will consider options for improvements and reform going forward.

Overall spending on health and aged care in 2024–25 is $146.1 billion, with a five-year commitment of new investments totalling $10.7 billion, including $8.5 billion in health and $2.2 billion in aged care.   This includes investments framed around four key themes:

  • Strengthening Medicare ($2.8b)
  • Cheaper medicines ($4.3b)
  • Quality aged care and
  • A fit and healthy Australia ($1.3b).

The  $2.8b Medicare investment includes an additional net investment in pathology of $166.5 million as detailed below:

Indexation will commence from 1 July 2025 for Haematology (P1), Immunology (P4), Tissue Pathology (P5), Cytology (P6), Infertility and Pregnancy (P8).  Indexation will be set at the usual MBS indexation rate and will be ongoing.  Chemical (P2), Microbiology (P3) and Genetics (P7) items will not be indexed due to automation, economies of scale and decreasing costs over time for newer technology.

The following new items to take effect from 1 July 2024 were featured in the budget:

  • Permanent respiratory nucleic acid amplification testing items for 4 targets ($78.25) or 5 or more targets ($85.55) from 1 July 2024 ($335.7m).  This reflects changes to the existing COVID/SARS-CoV-2 items as advised to members on 3 May 2024.

Other new and amended listings to take effect from 1 July 2024 are:

  • New item for NT-proBNP testing of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  • New items for measurable residual disease.
  • Amended items for alpha thalassemia testing.
  • Amended item for BRCA1/2 testing (see here for descriptors and fees).

The budget also featured the following new and amended MBS items to take effect from 1 November 2024:

  • New N-Terminal-pro Brain Natriuretic Peptide (NT-proBNP) tests to aid in the diagnosis of patients with suspected heart failure in a non-hospital setting.
  • Point-of-care testing for detection of neisseria gonorrhoea, chlamydia trachomatis and trichomonas vaginalis to providers located within remote (MM 6) and very remote (MM 7) communities.
  • Increased fee for MBS item 73420 for Rhesus D non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) of non-alloimmunised patients and amending item 73421 to include patients expecting more than one child.
  • Amending item 73441 for genetic testing for childhood hearing loss to clarify policy intent and allow patients with unilateral hearing loss to access testing.
  • Amending item 73451 for reproductive carrier testing for cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy and fragile X syndrome to clarify policy intent and mitigate inappropriate co-claiming.
  • Amending item 73429 for somatic gene panel testing for the diagnosis and classification of gliomas to clarify policy intent and remove the specification of test methodologies.
  • Amending item 73343 to remove the specification of test methodologies.
  • Amending items 73422, 73424 and 73434 to clarify policy intent and specify the purposes of particular types of genetic testing for various neuromuscular conditions.

Further detail on these changes including fees will be issued closer to the implementation date.

Application fee savings for providers

Services Australia application fees for Approved Pathology Authorities, Approved Pathology Practitioner, and Approved Pathology Laboratories will cease from 1 July 2025.

Savings measures

The following offsets will be implemented from 1 July 2025 in line with the MBS Review recommendations and PPA will be working with the Department with respect to implementation:

  • Changes to Vitamin B12 items (66838, 66839) to reduce unnecessary duplicate testing for patients that are not Vitamin B12 deficient.
  • Changes to urine testing (69333) to clarify testing in asymptomatic patients.

The budget also contains a measure to reduce the MBS claims period from two years to one year.  From 1 November 2025, providers won’t be able to submit bulk billed claims through any claiming channel more than 12 months after the date of service. This is a change from the Services Australia current rules, which allow for bulk bill claims to be submitted up to 24 months after the date of service. In exceptional circumstances, some bulk billed services may be paid if submitted after 12 months. Patients will continue to be able to submit claims themselves with no restriction. There are no changes to services which aren’t bulk billed.  PPA will be liaising with the Department about this unexpected measure.

Hospital funding

There was an expectation that this budget would see additional funding flow to the States and Territories following the National Cabinet meeting in December 2023 where the Commonwealth committed to at least an additional $13 billion in hospital funding over the next five years from 2025 to 2030.  Negotiations are currently underway for the new National Health Reform Agreement Addendum (Commonwealth/State funding agreement) and the Government hope to conclude negotiations by 30 June 2024.  Source

The budget commits the Australian Government to providing more funding to state public hospitals from 2025–2030, increasing the Commonwealth contribution to the cost of care to 45 per cent, from around 40 per cent, over the next 10 years.

$882.2m has also been earmarked for states and territories to provide hospital outreach in the community and deliver virtual care to prevent avoidable hospitalisations.


The budget announcements relating to the prevention of disease include:

  • $25.3m to prevent skin cancer via a national skin cancer screening roadmap and continued campaign.
  • $38.8m to continue funding for free bowel cancer screening and a lowering of eligible age from 50 to 45 years.
  • $43.9m to work towards eliminating HIV transmission by 2030 with better prevention, training and more free self-test kits.

Health & Medical Research

The budget reflected the announcement on 2 May 2024 of a new National Health and Medical Research Strategy which will better align the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The  $1.89 billion “Health Research for a Future Made in Australia” package includes:

  • $1.4b over 13 years for research via the MRFF:
    • A new 10-Year Low Survival Cancers Mission
    • A new 10-Year Reducing Health Inequities Mission
    • Continuing existing streams of lifechanging MRFF funding
    • More research into three health priorities:
      • Women’s health.
      • Chronic pain.
      • Alcohol and other drug treatment.
  • $411m to support 229 researchers to tackle the nation’s greatest health challenges, through the NHMRC Investigator Grant Scheme.
  • $62m to support 26 clinical trials from around Australia, through the MRFF Clinical Trials Activity Measure.
  • $18.8m to progress the National One Stop Shop to clinical trials via a single national platform and set of regulations.  Source

Digital Health

  • $57.4m for Digital Health Transformation.  This translates to a small top up for more education and communications for the share by default program for the My Health Record  for the Agency of approximately $750k.  It also funds the completion of the business case for the establishment of a patient-centred national eRequesting capability.


Other budget announcements include:

  • Continuing reforms to deliver world-class newborn bloodspot screening programs nationally ($25.3m, see fact sheet below for timeframes).
  • A further 29 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics ($227m).
  • A new medical school for Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory from 2026 ($24.6m).