Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced today that the new preventative health strategy will not be levying a tax on junk food.
In line with this new strategy, Minister Gillard also announced plans for a new Preventative Health Agency. If government legislation is passed by parliament, the agency should be established early next year.
The idea behind this is relieving the pressure on Australia’s hospitals and encouraging a healthier lifestyle. These two are highly connected goals, as preventable diseases are adding a significant amount to healthcare expenditure. These diseases make up 20% of healthcare expenditure. Smoking alone costs $31.5 billion a year, and kills approximately 15,000 Australians.
The proposed bill is part of the Government’s $872.1 million commitment to the National Partnership Agreement on Preventative Health, for the next 6 years. $17.6 million will go towards the new agency.
The agency, should it come into existence, will collaborate with Governments and non-governmental organisations in order to increase and focus the Government’s efforts to lower the rates of smoking, obesity and alcohol and substance abuse.
The agency will take on the responsibilities of social marketing programs regarding obesity and tobacco, a preventative health research fund and a preventative workforce audit and strategy.
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