A wealthy nation like Australia should have a strong, sustainable public health system - with properly funded hospitals, more nurses and doctors, and better pay for those who want to work in public health.
Let's stop pouring money into the more than $3.6b private health insurance industry and put it back into our hospitals and health workforce - to provide better health care for all Australians.
We want to target our health dollars to the areas where they will do the greatest good to ensure they have the greatest impact in protecting and improving the health of Australian families.
Dental health care.
Our dental health is just as important as physical and mental health. This is why the Greens' goal is for dental health to be part of the Medicare system - so that all Australians have access to good dental care.
We all know that small problems left unattended can rapidly become bigger, more complicated ... and painful. Free access to primary dental care can make people's lives better and reduce the longer term costs to our public health system.
The Greens' Denticare scheme will provide basic dental services, establish national standards and create a competitive environment for dentists through national rebates. Australians deserve more and better dental services, not less.
Closing the gap
The Greens have also been long-term supporters of the community campaign to ‘close the gap' on Aboriginal health disadvantage and are strong supporters of the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector. We advocate tackling the underlying social determinants of poor health outcomes - like poor housing, nutrition, education and life opportunities.
Prevention is better than cure
The Greens have been working hard to see that a greater emphasis is put onto preventative health - to improve the well-being of all Australians and reduce the impacts on our health system of chronic disease. We advocate expanding health education and promotion and support a greater focus on early intervention.
There has been a lot of misinformation and confusion about the tax on ‘alcopops' but the Greens have maintained a clear position throughout the debate. We acknowledge there is clear evidence that price is a factor in reducing harmful drinking, particularly for younger people and problem drinkers. We also recognise that cost is only one factor, and that a consistent and comprehensive approach is needed. This is why we continue to advocate for an integrated package of measures.
The Greens have negotiated a $50 million package that comes into affect when the Alcopops legislation passes. It will allow sports groups to apply for funding to replace alcohol sponsorship, provide more social marketing programs, community projects and a national hotline. In addition, mandatory warnings will be required on all alcohol advertising and packaging.
We continue to campaign on the issues of advertising and promotions and want to see an end to the loophole that allows advertising in sporting programs during children's viewing hours. Likewise, The Greens would be likely to support an increase in the price of cigarettes if the funds raised are spent on preventative measures.
The Australian Greens have urged the Rudd Government to follow the advice of parents and health groups and restrict junk food advertising aimed at children.
We recently introduced into the Senate the Protecting Children from Junk Food Advertising (Broadcasting Amendment) Bill which would have banned junk food advertising during children's peak television viewing times and restricted junk food advertising
The Bill was backed by health experts and children's advocates, but failed to win the support of either major party.
Ageing should not mean the loss of our quality of life, our home or independence. However our aged population is growing, the resources of support services are being squeezed.
The Greens believe the focus needs to be on providing more resources to individuals, families and carers to support ‘ageing in place' ... and to support community care services and facilities that provide a decent quality of life.
It's well known that single pensioners in particular are one of the most disadvantaged groups in our community, and that many of our pensioners are struggling to make ends meet.
As the cost of essentials continues to rise, The Greens have been calling for a significant rise in the aged pension for some time and welcomed the increases made in the last budget.
We will continue to campaign for better support services.