Taking Preventative Action

Investing Today to Benefit our Future Health
Introduction from the Minister

The saying is true – prevention is better than cure. But for all the strengths of our health system Australia has historically not invested enough effort and funding in preventing chronic and life-threatening diseases.

With an ageing population and increasing rates of chronic disease, increasing our action in preventative health has never been more important.

The Government commissioned the National Preventative Health Taskforce to provide bold recommendations on what action can be taken – starting with the priority areas of alcohol, tobacco and obesity.

In its work, the Taskforce under took 40 consultations and were provided with 397 submissions. Once the report was released, the Prime Minister, Ministers and I conducted over 100 consultations about this report and the work of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission.

The Government is now embarking on a bold strategy for preventative health action, including:

  • the world’s toughest regime on cutting smoking rates;
  • establishing a national agency to guide investments in prevention;
  • tackling binge drinking through a $103.5 million strategy;
  • reducing the impact of diabetes through a $449.2 million reform;
  • providing approximately $300 million for social marketing campaigns tackling tobacco, alcohol, obesity and illicit drugs;
  • helping Australians to participate more in sport and active recreation through a boost to sports funding; and
  • delivering the most ambitious study of Australia’s health ever conducted.

In addition to the Government’s investments, there’s a need for action in every community and every family.

The Taskforce’s proposals represent not only a call to action for our Government, but for states and territories, communities, workplaces, families and individuals.

Many of the recommendations of the Taskforce we are now implementing, many we will continue to consider. Others will need to be taken up across states and territories and the community.

This critical first step in reshaping our health system will not be the last. Preventative health is now here to stay at the heart of our health reform agenda.

Nicola Roxon
May 2010
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Page last updated 19 May, 2010