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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 179 ..


the long term. Not only do these initiatives help save costs down the line but, most importantly, they also improve health outcomes and therefore improve people’s quality of life.

Broadening our understanding of health care beyond the clinical sphere is also important so we can respond to the social determinants of health. The provision of housing, employment, access to education and a clean environment have a significant impact on our overall health and wellbeing. This approach to health is about more than just the treatment of disease; it is about investing in the overall health and wellbeing of our population. The Greens will support this motion, and we look forward to further investments in primary and preventative care to drive benefits and efficiencies across our health system in the future.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (4.08): I thank Ms Cheyne very much for bringing forward this important motion on this very important issue and I particularly value her interest in health and the health and wellbeing of our community. As her motion outlines, in this term of government there have already been significant achievements right across many aspects of our health system. The investments this government has made build on previous investments and ensure that our community remains one of the healthiest in the country.

Health is one of the top priorities for the Barr Labor government, one made clear by our ongoing investments in health services, infrastructure and our health workforce, all with one purpose: to keep our community as healthy and as well as they can be by providing access to health care when and where people need it. This is true across all aspects of the health system, from tertiary services to community-based services, to rehabilitation services and importantly in prevention. It is also relevant across all government departments. It is also important to work with our broader community and with the private sector because it is in everyone’s interest to have a healthy city.

A healthy community is evidenced in the most recent Report on government services. As Ms Cheyne and you, Mr Assistant Speaker, have outlined, we have the highest life expectancy, living close to a full year longer than the national average at 81.3 years for men and 84.2 years for women. I am pleased to say we also have been reducing smoking, with fewer daily smokers, now down to seven per cent.

In relation to children, as has been noted, we have the lowest rates of childhood obesity in the country. This has come from significant and focused investment in prevention. We have further good news. We are leading the country with the highest levels of immunisation.

We do have an excellent health system in the ACT that continues to deliver more and improved services and upgraded facilities. We are providing improved access to our community along the spectrum of healthcare services, from acute care services at the city’s and the region’s major tertiary hospital, the Canberra Hospital, and at Calvary Public Hospital, Bruce, including inpatient and outpatient care, to the soon-to-open rehabilitation hospital at the University of Canberra, providing essential rehabilitation


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