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Tuesday, 23 June 1998
Page: 5212

Mr Laurie Ferguson asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 7 April 1998:

(1) What health education and health promotion programs does his Department conduct for veterans and war widows.

(2) What (a) program and (b) running costs were allocated to the activities referred to in part (1) in (i) 1995-96, (ii) 1996-97 and (iii) 1997-98.

(3) Through which appropriation item are the activities funded.

(4) What is the forward estimate for expenditure on the activities in (a) 1998-99 and (b) 1999-2000.

Mr Bruce Scott (Veterans' Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) My Department has two comprehensive programs in place to address preventive health issues: the preventive health program for the veteran community as a whole and the healthy lifestyles courses conducted by the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service (VVCS) for Vietnam and younger veterans.

The preventive health program has as its cornerstone the Better Living Plan for the Veteran Community which is a strategic plan outlining my Department's approach to preventive health until the year 2000.

The individual elements of the preventive health program include:

. a major health promotion grants program which provides funding for substantial programs which address the primary health needs of the veteran community;

. healthy lifestyle encouragement grants program which supports smaller health promotion activities;

. a dementia program which provides a range of training and materials on the management of dementia to assist carers, providers and those diagnosed with dementia;

. a prostate health awareness program, including a book and video to inform the veteran community and health providers on prostate health issues;

. the Never Too Late! sport and recreation program in conjunction with the Australian Sports Commission, to provide quality opportunities for veterans to participate in sport and recreation modified to meet their particular needs;

. an education/information program for health providers through bi-annual publication of the Veterans' Health magazine which raises awareness in health providers of the major health issues affecting the veteran community.

Veterans' Health Week in October each year is the avenue to showcase to the veteran community those programs which have been successful and also the opportunity to highlight to the veteran community the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

The healthy lifestyles programs conducted by the VVCS address:

. coping skills and lifestyle management strategies during week-long residential programs in each state;

. physical health and fitness through Heartsafe programs conducted in conjunction with MBF and developed in consultation with the National Heart Foundation;

. weight management through Gutbusters programs; and

. coping skills for partners and children of veterans through psycho-educational groups for women and children.

Additionally, in recognising the importance of appropriate medication use, my Department has developed the MediWise program. This program is designed to assist veterans and war widows by encouraging them to play a more active role in the safe use of their medications.

(2) Preventive Health Program

(i) 1995-96—Program $335,000; Running Costs (Admin) $450,300.

(ii) 1996-97—Program $539,000; Running Costs (Admin) $455,300.

(iii) 1997-98—Program $550,500 (incl $108,500 for MediWise); Running Costs (Admin) $480,300.

VVCS healthy lifestyle courses

(i) 1995-96—Program $830,000; Running Costs (Admin) $300,000. Note: programs commenced.

(ii) 1996-97—Program $1,130,000; Running Costs (Admin) $300,000. Note: additional funding required for period of innovation and expansion.

(iii) 1997-98—Program $835,000; Running Costs (Admin) $300,000. Note: evaluation of effectiveness and cost efficiencies, resulting in some consolidation

(3) Preventive health program (including MediWise): Appropriation 2.3 Health Care Services. VVCS healthy lifestyle courses: Appropriation 2.4 Health Care and Services

(4) Preventive health program—(a) 1998-99 $980,000 (includes $10,000 for MediWise); (b) 1999-2000 $980,000 (includes $10,000 for MediWise).

VVCS healthy lifestyle courses—(a) 1998-99 $1,200,000; (b) 1999-2000 $1,200,000.