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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 1995) . . Page.. 1598 ..


The board will be charged with the ongoing responsibility to fund, through grants and sponsorships, activities that promote good health, safety and the prevention or early detection of disease. This will be achieved through the simpler administrative process of a statutory authority without any overall loss of accountability to the Government or to the Assembly. The legislation requires the board to provide a strategic plan, including campaign priorities and proposed expenditures. It also provides for the Minister to make written directions to the board in relation to the performance of its functions, either generally or in relation to a particular matter. The Bill requires the board to implement ministerial directions. Such directions must be laid before the Assembly within 15 days. The board is required to furnish the Minister with an annual report on its activities. The strategic plan, the annual report and any ministerial directions are to be laid before the Legislative Assembly.

The board will be responsible for all administrative and financial arrangements pertaining to its functions, although staff will continue to be covered by the Public Sector Management Act 1994. Many of these administrative services may continue to be provided by the ACT Government Service, and I expect that staffing and financial management may well continue to be provided in this way. However, the board will be able to negotiate and arrange all matters to its advantage and to the advantage of health promotion in the ACT. This financial year, 1995-96, will be a year of transition for the board as it becomes established, and the Government will continue to support its operations in every possible way.

The legislation gives the board a broad charter under which to operate. It allows it to research and develop activities which will, in the longer term, support its primary goal of health promotion. In this regard the board will be able to fund pilot projects and fill gaps in many areas. The board will also be asked to examine health promotion funding currently being undertaken elsewhere in the administration in areas such as sport and recreation funding with a view to drawing its funding together under its operations.

Finally, I would like to highlight the new and entrepreneurial focus that this structure will bring to health promotion in the ACT. I will ensure that members of the board are not only able to reflect the previous history of the Health Promotion Fund but also able to give the work of the new agency a higher profile within the community. I believe that the board has the potential to emulate the success of similar bodies in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia and should, over time, make a very valuable contribution to health costs in the ACT. I am very proud of this Bill, as is the Government generally. We believe that this will be a very definite step forward. It will make sure that, in the future, health promotions are not subject to the problems that some governments had in the past with health promotion funding.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.


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