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- Start of Business
- PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS
- FEDERAL FINANCIAL RELATIONS AMENDMENT (NATIONAL HEALTH AND HOSPITALS NETWORK) BILL 2010
- HEALTH INSURANCE (EXTENDED MEDICARE SAFETY NET - MIDWIVES) AMENDMENT DETERMINATION 2010
- CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT (CLUSTER MUNITIONS PROHIBITION) BILL 2010
- NATIONAL HEALTH AND HOSPITALS NETWORK BILL 2010
- AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL PREVENTIVE HEALTH AGENCY BILL 2010
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
- Great Barrier Reef: Project Catalyst
- Ovarian Cancer
- Flinders Electorate: Infrastructure Charge
- Tan Kien Ly
- Minister’s Awards for Excellence for Employers of Australian Apprentices
- Turkey: Republic Day
- Murray-Darling Basin
- Professor Berni Einoder AM
- Kalamunda Schoolies Timor-Leste Project
- Australian Youth Climate Coalition
- TRAGEDIES IN INDONESIA
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Owens, Julie, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Andrews, Kevin, MP, Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Rowland, Michelle, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Van Manen, Bert, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Jones, Stephen, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(O’Neill, Deborah, MP, Roxon, Nicola, MP)
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
Carbon Farming Initiative
(D’Ath, Yvette, MP, Combet, Greg, MP)
(Bandt, Adam, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Parke, Melissa, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Bishop, Julie, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
Women in the Workplace
(Burke, Anna, MP, Ellis, Kate, MP)
(Briggs, Jamie, MP, Bowen, Chris, MP)
Freedom of Information
(Saffin, Janelle, MP, O’Connor, Brendan, MP)
(Forrest, John, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Grierson, Sharon, MP, Emerson, Craig, MP)
Cleaner Car Rebate Scheme
(Mirabella, Sophie, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
(Symon, Mike, MP, Crean, Simon, MP)
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- USE OF MOBILE TELEPHONES
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- AUTONOMOUS SANCTIONS BILL 2010
- VETERANS’ AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (WEEKLY PAYMENTS) BILL 2010
- THERAPEUTIC GOODS AMENDMENT (2010 MEASURES NO. 1) BILL 2010
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S SPEECH
- HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT (FEE-HELP LOAN FEE) BILL 2010
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL PREVENTIVE HEALTH AGENCY BILL 2010
- Second Reading
- Consideration in Detail
- Third Reading
- Road Infrastructure
- Ipswich Region Community Church Day of Honour
- Dunkley Electorate: Frankston
- Moreton Electorate: Seniors
- Grey Electorate: Road Conditions on the Birdsville Track
- Makin Electorate: Greek Community
- Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Canberra Electorate: Telstra Awards
- Start of Business
- Stirling Electorate: Neighbourhood Watch
- Calwell Electorate: Radio 3ZZZ
- Macarthur Electorate: 24-Hour Fight Against Cancer Macarthur
- Parramatta Electorate: Merrylands Baptist Church
- Grey Electorate: Bedford Industries
- Deakin Electorate: Building the Education Revolution Program
- Dunkley Electorate: Small Businesses
- Corio Electorate: Youth Leadership Awards
- Bradfield Electorate: San Run for Life
- Page Electorate
THERAPEUTIC GOODS AMENDMENT (2010 MEASURES
- VETERANS’ AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (WEEKLY PAYMENTS) BILL 2010
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Mr SYMON (12:46 PM) —I speak in support of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency Bill 2010. As the member for Cowan was just talking about physical fitness, I can attest that he is a very keen and regular attender at the parliamentary gym, and I do know that his heart is definitely in that.
Mr Simpkins —As are you, mate.
Mr SYMON —Thank you. The Australian National Preventive Health Agency will be responsible for supporting Australian health ministers in their efforts to combat preventable diseases. A key role of the agency will be to provide the leadership and coordination required to support the implementation of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, an agreement of the Council of Australian Governments. This agreement between the state, territory and federal governments recognises that greater coordination is required in our efforts to tackle preventable chronic conditions.
Initially, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency will focus its efforts on social marketing campaigns to reduce the risks posed by tobacco consumption, alcohol consumption and obesity. The ANPHA will develop a five-year national preventative healthcare strategy to coordinate and provide national leadership on the issue of preventative health as well as to conduct relevant research in these vital areas.
The Gillard government has committed to fund the ANPHA with $133 million over four years. This includes $102 million over those four years to fund important campaigns that go to issues that are here and now. As I mentioned before, tobacco use and the rates of obesity are issues that government should concentrate on. Tackling preventable diseases is one of the most effective ways of improving health outcomes in Australia, saving our country, our community, a lot of money and saving people’s lives.
Too often in the past individuals, communities and governments have focused on the issues of treating people after they have become sick. Of course, we still need to do that, but there are so many things that happen over a lifetime that may cause an illness later on that need to be concentrated on now so that we save that money, that illness and those deaths down the track. Governments in Australia have looked at some of these issues in the past, but what is proposed with this bill is a much more comprehensive and, I think, better targeted package to look at these issues both now and in the future. I think the debate we are having now should have been held many, many years ago. When the bill that was similar to this one was put up to the last parliament, we had the debate back in October 2009, and I thought, ‘This is good; it’s going to happen,’ but that bill never made it through the last parliament, so we are back here today having this debate.
In Australia, it is estimated that one-third of the burden on our health system relates to the health behaviour and lifestyle factors of individuals. I think that with education and resources these behaviours and factors can be modified. But it is not a short-term fix. It is not something such that you can get a message across today and change someone’s behaviour of a lifetime the next day. It takes reinforcement and a lot of education and help. When we encourage individuals to make different choices, we start to divert people from life-threatening diseases and illnesses and we can make inroads, as I said, on the costs of health and make for a happier, healthier community—not just a few people but everyone.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has identified the seven risk factors that contribute the most to the burden of disease. They are tobacco use, high blood pressure, obesity, lack of physical activity, cholesterol levels, alcohol intake and the low intake of fruit and vegetables. They all sound fairly straightforward, but of course they all have huge impacts. The financial cost that these factors pose to our health system is significant, while the cost to our community in mortality and morbidity is considerable and is growing.
For instance, in the 2004-05 financial year, the health costs associated with tobacco were estimated at $31 billion. As the member for Dobell noted in his contribution to this debate, we have seen in Australia, through anti-smoking campaigns and price signals, the rate of smoking cut from 30½ per cent in 1988 down to 16.6 per cent in 2007. What the member for Dobell did not note and I will is that even that rate is much reduced from what it used to be. In the 1950s, it was estimated that 70 per cent of adult males and 30 per cent of adult females who lived in Australia smoked. We now see a lot of those problems many, many years down the track, when people who have smoked—and a large percentage of the population have smoked—present with what can be in many cases incurable diseases or chronic diseases that are there for life. There are some other interesting figures on smoking, and it is good to see the rates going down. One that I found while looking up information for this bill is that there are now more former smokers in Australia than there are current smokers. That is a good sign for the future.
A recent report from VicHealth in 2009 titled The health and economic benefits of reducing disease risk factors showed that if the smoking of tobacco were reduced to the rate of smoking in California, which is down to 15 per cent, then 5,000 lives per year could be saved in Australia. The report went on to note that there would be 158,000 fewer new cases each year of illness from tobacco use in Australia. The Gillard government has introduced world-leading reforms to further reduce Australia’s smoking rates, which are already among the lowest in the world but, as I said, need to go lower. These reforms include a 25 per cent increase in tobacco excise, an $85 million investment in anti-smoking campaigns and being the first government in the world to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products. This new body, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, will continue this work to reduce tobacco use in Australia.
Obesity is emerging as one of the major challenges to the health of Australians. Earlier this year, the OECD predicted that in the next decade almost two-thirds of the Australian population would be either overweight or obese. That huge figure almost defies belief but, when we look at our existing figures, we are actually not a long way off that. The World Health Organisation has labelled obesity a worldwide epidemic. To give the House some idea of that, in Australia in 2007-08, 61 per cent of adults were overweight or obese and 25 per cent of children aged five to 17 years were overweight or obese. So we are not actually very far off the prediction of the OECD for the next decade. It is a prediction I hope we as a country do not reach.
The National Preventive Health Strategy, the road map for action, says that by 2032 the leading cause of disease for males and the second leading cause of disease for females will be type 2 diabetes. This will result in an increase in direct healthcare costs for type 2 diabetes to about $8 billion annually from the current $1.3 billion. The rise in type 2 diabetes rates is significant because it in many ways reflects the rise of obesity in our community. Poor diet and lack of physical activity lead on to larger health complications. And diet is so important. As noted in Australia’s health 2010, only one out of every 20 children aged 14 to 16 consumed the recommended intake of vegetables in 2007. If you start out life without the right eating habits, I am sure it is only downhill from there. As the previous speaker noted, there are many who get an addiction to eating junk food rather than eating food that fuels their bodies. The VicHealth report that I referred to previously found that a cut in physical inactivity of only five per cent would save the health sector $48 million a year. But in 2007-08 only 37 per cent of adult Australians exercised sufficiently to obtain benefits to their health. In addition, and very importantly, 1,000 lives per year could be saved, and there would be 3,000 fewer cases of illness, for that five per cent cut in physical inactivity. The Gillard government recognises the challenge of tackling obesity and has committed to the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, which will invest a total of $872 million over six years, with a focus on obesity in that preventive health area.
Another factor that will be a focus of ANPHA is the consumption of alcohol and other substances. Australia still has a very high per capita consumption of alcohol and, although that has dropped overall slightly in recent years, the detrimental effects of excessive alcohol consumption on a person’s health are well known. It is estimated that in 2004-05 Australia spent $1.9 billion on health in relation to the harmful consumption of alcohol. Also associated with the overconsumption of alcohol is the loss of workplace productivity, estimated to be worth another $3.5 billion, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The Gillard government has already taken action to deal with part of this problem by investing $103 million in the National Binge Drinking Campaign and has raised the taxes on alcopops, sugary drinks favoured by many young drinkers.
Given that the evidence shows the role that lifestyle and behavioural factors play in individual health outcomes and that we have known this for some time now, the question that could be asked is why previous governments have not given this the same priority as it is now being given in this place. I think it is a wise investment decision for any government to spend now on preventive health to prevent greater expenditure in the future. But that is not always an easy thing to explain to colleagues in the House or to convince those on the other side or even to convince the public, because the benefits are not necessarily quantifiable, they are not sitting in front of us right now. A cost to the current budget for a return many years down the track is always a difficult case to argue, but in terms of health I think those outcomes can be measured from research that has already been done, and the capacity of governments to fund the system in the future if we do not act now is something that is in doubt because these problems were only going to magnify and grow as the population ages and as our population grows in the future.
In contrast to previous governments, the Gillard Labor government is taking action by funding preventive health programs. We are listening to experts like the people involved in the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and practitioners on the ground. The Gillard government is investing in preventive health and has been working with state health ministers to deliver the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, which overall will invest $872 million in that area. Investment in preventive health is about helping our community have the knowledge to make healthier decisions and making these decisions easier for the individuals who live in those communities. By taking the lead in preventive health, the Gillard government is looking to our country’s future. I am certain that this investment now in funding preventive health programs will lead to a lesser expense for the community as whole in the future. I commend this bill to the House.