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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3039 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Mental health education;

The need for an early psychosis intervention centre; and

Services for children diagnosed with behavioural difficulties.

This Government is committed to looking at best practice approaches to responding to key health issues for children and young people.

At this stage the Government is not able to support the recommendation that we have a health promotion campaign highlighting the associations between asthma, and children's bedding and poorly ventilated cooking.

Current evidence concerning the associations between bedding types and asthma is inconclusive. A formal study is under way on this subject in the ACT and NSW, which is aimed at clarifying this issue, but the results will not be known for another two years.

As well, there is currently a lack of clear evidence concerning associations between air pollutants generally - both indoor and outdoor - and asthma. This matter is, however, currently the subject of a report commissioned by the Commonwealth and undertaken through the National Asthma Council.

The Government's current priorities, which reflect those of the National Asthma Council, are to focus on campaigns that highlight:

The importance of regular medical review;

Assessing severity of asthma,

First Aid for Asthma,

Compliance to drug medication regimes, and

Asthma action plans.

These approaches have been shown to achieve improved health outcomes for children with asthma.

The Government is also not able to support the incorporation of information about active transport methods in curriculum areas, such as "road ready"courses.

The 'Road Ready' program is already an integral part of the driver licensing system and the incorporation of general information about alternative transport systems would add to the course length and detract from its educational objectives.

That said, some of these issues will be addressed at a primary school level, through curriculum based classroom activities developed as part of the ACT TravelSmart Schools Pilot Project. These resources will be aimed at influencing children's and families travel behaviour and reducing reliance on car travel to and from school.

Overall, implementation of the accepted recommendations contained in the ACT Government's Response:

Will require government and community sector partnerships;

Will be increasingly based on a person-centred approach rather than traditional program boundaries; and

Will provide opportunities for a greater focus on early intervention and prevention approaches.

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