Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2042 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I spoke earlier about the impact that ecological factors have on health, and it is about time governments took a broader approach to health policy and promotion. Environmental health is a growing field. In fact, the Nature and Society Forum is holding a conference on it at the end of this month, with some very interesting speakers. Yet, while there is a growing recognition of how the environment impacts on human health - agenda item 21 at the Rio Earth Summit also recognised the inextricable links between ecological sustainability and health - governments have been very slow to implement action. Mrs Carnell is all for the ACT being first in leading the way, so here is a great opportunity to show that in the ACT we do recognise the links between the wellbeing of humans and the natural surroundings in which they live.
MR MOORE (4.15): Mr Speaker, I must say that I have much more difficulty with this amendment than I do with the others. What concerns me is that the focus on health that would be enhanced in one sense by the amendments proposed by Ms Tucker would adopt the notion of the World Health Organisation of saying that health is a general issue that goes right across the community instead of having a balance. Sport, recreation, the arts and culture, employee relationships, and occupational health and safety, media communication, business and accountancy all have an impact on health. By changing the number of people on the board and by adding to it people with expertise in community health, environmental health, and health in general, specifically, I think that we lose that very broad concept of population health in a health promotion sense. Therefore I have more difficulty with this amendment.
I must say, Mr Speaker, that I have not made my final decision on this. Ms Tucker, who has an opportunity to speak a second time on this clause, may be able to convince me, or other members may well be able to convince me; but my reaction to this amendment is that it will achieve just the opposite of what she set out to achieve in her first amendment and also, in one sense, in this amendment, by narrowing it to a health focus rather than a general community focus. I think that what we really ought to be looking for is a general community focus where ordinary members of the community can understand how health can be promoted throughout all community activities. That is the difficulty with this amendment.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Minister for Health and Community Care) (4.17): The Government will be opposing these amendments. The major reason for opposing them is that I think they lose the whole essence of the new Health Promotion Fund. The board of the new Health Promotion Fund will be managing a multimillion dollar portfolio. The potential income this year from 5 per cent of the tobacco franchise fee is $2.1m. The board is to have one member with expertise in business or accountancy, one member with expertise in media or communications, a member with expertise in employee relations or occupational health and safety, two members with expertise in health, one member from sport, one member from the arts and a public servant member. That is how the board is to be made up. It is balanced. We have people with expertise from a wide range of areas that this board will be responsible for.