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Greens Launch National Health Plan

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 2 Aug 2010

The Greens' National Healthcare Plan, based on early intervention and prevention strategies, has been launched today in Perth
and includes:

- Denticare - a national dental care scheme to end the waiting list of 500,000 Australians
- Incentives for more rural dental workers (including HECS rebates)
- A Minister for Mental Health
- $350 million per year for mental health
- $58.5 million over 4 years for rural mental health
- Better hearing screening to prevent or limit hearing loss - including assistance for Indigenous communities
- A 1.5% levy on junk food and alcohol advertising
- An end to junk food ads in children's TV viewing hours, until 9:30pm
- Traffic light labelling so shoppers can select healthier foods
- A floor price plan for cigarettes
- A safe alcohol consumption public education program

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens Health spokesperson said "The Greens want to convert Australia's health system to one based on wellness not sickness."

"We need to be keeping people well and out of hospital.

"The combined cost of poor health and the associated social impacts from tobacco and alcohol use, obesity, and poor dental, mental and hearing health is $138.75 billion per year.

"Keeping people well not only provides a far better quality of life but it is less expensive.

"Our range of policies are designed around preventive health which is a much more sensible approach to healthcare," said Senator Siewert.

Greens Leader Bob Brown, in Perth for the launch, and himself a former GP said, "The Greens are leading both older parties in improving health care as today's Medical Journal of Australia revealed a huge problem with obesity for the nation."

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