Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has used a Public Health Association of Australia forum in Perth today to outline Greens’ suite of health policies ahead of Saturday’s election.
Senator Siewert also launched the Greens’ Dementia Initiative, identifying the disorder as the single leading cause of disability in older Australians.
Senator Siewert told the forum that the Greens are going to the 2010 Election with a range of strong, community-backed policies aimed at reducing the pressure of our health system and putting a greater focus in areas such as preventive health, mental health and dental care.
“Health is a major issue for West Australians, but policies must focus on more than hospitals - we need to invest in keeping people well and out of hospitals,” said Senator Siewert.
“It's disappointing that we're not hearing how the ALP or the Coalition plan to tackle preventive health. We currently only invest around 2% of our health budget in preventive health – this needs to increase,” Senator Siewert said today.
“In contrast, The Greens have announced a range of measures to radically improve national health:
“In the last week, we’ve announced initiatives in the areas of hearing, dementia and bowel cancer, and we’ve had mental health and dental initiatives on the table for months.
“Our Denticare scheme offers all Australians access to public dental care; it will reduce waiting times and help reduce the incidence of chronic disease within our community.
“We have consistently pushed the Government and Coalition towards making mental health and preventive health strategies a fundamental component of our health system – recognising the positive health benefit this offers to the nation.
“Keeping people well is just as important as making them better. Our preventive health, obesity, junk food, alcohol and tobacco programs seek to do just that – keep people healthy and reduce the incidence of chronic disease in our community.
"Reducing the incidence of unnecessary hospital admissions through a greater focus on prevention and primary health care will reduce state health costs, keeping a check on future budget blowouts.
“These policies are developed to meet Australia’s future needs, to support health services and health workers in our cities, in regional and remote areas and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” concluded Senator Siewert.
The Public Health Election Health Forum was organised by the Public Health Association Australia in partnership with the Australian Health Promotion Association (WA Branch), the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA.