Australia gets a preventative health agency

Would love to hear people’s thoughts on this – it seems logical, but will it end up a conglomeration of conflicting priorities?


Minister for Health and Ageing


17 November 2010

Historic health prevention agency a reality

The fight against preventable diseases has been given a boost after the Parliament today passed the historic Australian National Preventive Health Agency Bill 2010, despite delaying tactics by the Opposition.

The Agency will lead Australia’s fight against preventable diseases through campaigns targeting obesity, along with alcohol, tobacco and other substance abuse.

Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon said the Agency will be critical in combating preventable diseases, which affects the lives of millions of Australians.

“We know that preventative health measures work and that’s why we sought to establish the Agency so for the first time in Australia, we will have one independent body to coordinate prevention campaigns across the country.”

As part of the Gillard Government’s record $872.1 million commitment over six years towards the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, the Agency will bring together some of the best expertise in Australia to gather, analyse and disseminate the latest evidence on ways to prevent chronic disease.

The Government has allocated $17.6 million to establish and operate the Agency which will be open from early next year and will be responsible for three specific programs under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health:

· National social marketing programs relating to tobacco and obesity ($102 million over four years);

· A preventive health research fund focussing on translational research ($13.1 million over four years); and

· A preventative workforce audit and strategy ($0.5 million over two years).

Quick facts:

· Potentially avoidable diseases account for around 20 per cent of Australia’s total health care expenditure.

· More than 60 per cent of Australians aged over 18 are overweight or obese.

· And more than 813,000 Australians aged 15 years and older were hospitalised for alcohol-related injury and disease between 1996 and 2005.

· Currently, smoking kills about 15,000 Australians each year and costs Australia $31.5 billion each year.