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Taking preventative action – a response to Australia: The healthiest country by 2020 – the report of the National Preventative Health Taskforce

Posted on: 1 July, 2010
Issue: Vol 10 No 3, July 2010 - September 2010
Related to Health Policies Protective and risk factors

Preventative Health Taskforce (2010)
Taking preventative action – a response to Australia: The healthiest country by 2020 – the report of the National Preventative Health Taskforce.
Canberra: Preventative Health Taskforce

In April 2008, the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, announced the National Preventative Health Taskforce to develop strategies to tackle the health challenges faced by all Australians, caused by tobacco, alcohol and obesity.

In October 2008, the Taskforce released a discussion paper, Australia: the healthiest country by 2020 and three associated technical papers on obesity, tobacco and alcohol. These documents formed the basis for conducting consultations and calling for public submissions. The Taskforce  received 397 submissions and held 40 consultations with almost 1,000 stakeholders in capital cities and select regional centres between October 2008 and February 2009.

Following this review and consultation process, the Taskforce released its final report in September 2009, which it titled Australia: the Healthiest Country by 2020. The Taskforce put forward 136 recommendations and 35 areas for action, tackling obesity, tobacco and alcohol as key drivers of chronic disease. The report comprises five documents:

  1. National Preventative Health Strategy – Overview
  2. National Preventative Health Strategy – the roadmap for action
  3. Technical Report 1 – Obesity in Australia: a need for urgent action
  4. Technical Report 2 – Tobacco control in Australia: making smoking history and
  5. Technical Report 3 – Preventing alcohol-related harm in Australia: a window of opportunity

Taking preventative action – a response to Australia: The Healthiest Country by 2020 – the report of the National Preventative Health is a report outlining how the Commonwealth government has responded to the recommendations of the Taskforce. The issues and outcomes that will impact most on the Indigenous population include:

Tobacco control
The $14.5 million Indigenous Tobacco Control Initiative will pilot projects in 18 communities in a mix of metropolitan, regional and remote areas of Australia. The lessons from these projects will be applied to the Government’s other commitment of the $100 million Tackling Smoking measure under the COAG Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health National Partnership.  The Tackling Smoking measure will see a network of Regional Tobacco Coordinators and Tobacco Action Workers rolled out across 56 regions nationally over three years from 2010-11. These workers will work with local communities to develop culturally relevant anti-smoking campaigns and support smoking cessation efforts.

Prevention for Indigenous Australians
In November 2008, the Commonwealth Government announced $805.5 million for an Indigenous Chronic Disease Package as its contribution to the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. The states and territories are contributing up to $771.5 million to this National Partnership. This money is to be spent on:

  • delivery campaigns and other community education initiatives to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease risk factors;
  • improved chronic disease management and follow-up care;
  • an increase in the capacity of the primary care workforce;
  • implementing the National Strategy for Food Security in Remote Indigenous Communities by increasing the availability and affordability of high quality fresh food in remote Indigenous communities; and
  • providing funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development (IECD).

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

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