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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2818 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

The national diabetes strategy for 2000-04, also launched by Health Ministers, provides five goals and performance measures to guide our actions in this key area. The integrated diabetes disease management model which was implemented earlier this year in the ACT is entirely consistent with the national strategy.

Mr Speaker, with asthma affecting over two million Australians, giving us one of the highest rates in the world, it is another serious health issue for us to address. Asthma is one of the 10 most common reasons that people have for seeing their general practitioner, and the drugs used to treat asthma represent the third highest drug group cost. I, along with other State and Territory Health Ministers, have recognised the importance of well-managed care for people with asthma, not only for their own quality of life but also in reducing the economic burden that asthma has on the health care system.

A national asthma strategy implementation plan has been developed to focus attention, effort and resources on improving health outcomes concerning asthma. The plan has drawn on local, State and Territory expertise for much of its content and represents a high degree of collaboration. The new national health priority area on asthma will achieve a concerted national focus on improving the awareness and management of asthma in Australia.

I turn to the nursing workforce review. Issues around the training, availability and sustainability of the nursing workforce being a key element of the health and community care workforce are reaching a critical point in Australia. Ministers agreed to a national review of the nursing workforce, with the review to be completed by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

At the Australian Health Ministers Conference in July 1998, Ministers agreed that each State and Territory would report annually to the conference on progress made in implementing the framework agreement concerning indigenous health. The report that the ACT tabled was prepared in consultation with members of the indigenous health forum. The report flagged considerable progress in the development of the ACT's indigenous health strategic plan, which identifies future direction and priorities for indigenous health in the ACT.

A progress report was also presented by Mr Puggy Hunter, chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. Mr Hunter's report gave his organisation's perspective of the progress made in implementing the commitments made in the framework agreements. The purpose of the reports from jurisdictions is not to make comparisons, but rather to honestly appraise how we have progressed the intent of the agreement and highlight the areas where we know more work could be done. The reporting framework provides Health Ministers with an opportunity to map activity in key commitment areas and flag new approaches or new programs. The framework provides greater transparency to the public about efforts to improve the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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