Federal Budget 2024: Investments Impacting the Health of People Who Use Drugs 

In News by AIVL

The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) welcomes the Albanese government’s investment in the health of our community: $6 million will be available over two years to support hepatitis C projects, $9.9 million over two years will go towards hepatitis C point of care testing, supported by AIVL, and $7.9 million will support the peak bodies, including AIVL, the Scarlet Alliance, NACCHO, NAPWHA, ASHM, Hepatitis Australia and Health Equity Matters, to implement the national blood borne virus (BBV) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) strategies. 

The Federal Budget 2024 includes a solid $43.9 million commitment to the HIV sector, including the expansion of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV self-testing, and other activities and resources for communities to build awareness and knowledge about HIV. We celebrate this major milestone with our national community-led peak partners, the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA), Health Equity Matters, and their respective networks. 

AIVL applauds the government’s strong investment towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to prevent, manage and respond to BBVs and STIs, including $17.5 million to support the delivery of the BBV and STI strategies, and $32.3 million over two years to support BBV and STI vaccinations, as well as funding for HIV education, prevention, testing and treatment. 

We also acknowledge the investment of $7.8 million over two years from 2024-25 to develop and pilot hepatitis B projects to reduce transmission of hepatitis B in Australia. 

Considering the overdose death toll in Australia and the harm reduction pillar within the National Drug Strategy 2017-26, it is disappointing to see no clear or significant funding allocated to life-saving alcohol and other drugs (AOD) community-led harm reduction efforts that are evidence-based, cost-effective, and a top priority for our national community of 3.9 million people who use and inject drugs.

AIVL is grateful that the federal budget 2024-25 recognises our communities and we celebrate the much-needed investment in the health of people who use drugs. We look forward to working alongside the Australian government, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, and our partners nationally to ensure continued investments for our community as a priority population.