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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3717 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

national health priority areas, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mental health; maternal and infant health; child health; notifiable conditions; health services; and health and the environment.

Population health indicators show that the ACT population continues to experience a more favourable level of health status than the rest of Australia. Life expectancy in the ACT is higher than life expectancy nationally. All-cause mortality and infant mortality rates are lower in the ACT than nationally.

The report paints a favourable picture of the social context of children's lives in the ACT in terms of family functioning, social support and social capital. However, the ACT, like the rest of the country, has specific health issues and trends of concern, with various health inequities in vulnerable population groups.

For instance, although the ACT compares favourably with other jurisdictions, there is evidence that levels of obesity are increasing in the ACT, levels of physical activity are in decline, and there are opportunities for improvements in our diet. This is not a time for complacency. Less than a quarter of ACT children consume the recommended daily minimum quantity of vegetables required for a healthy diet. The government acknowledges these issues. The information and health needs identified in the report underpin the 2002 ACT health action plan and will be used as a map to guide future health care provision and policy in the ACT.

The Chief Health Officer's report also details a number of innovative policies, programs and health promotion initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the ACT. For example, we have a strong quality and safety plan under way in ACT Health services. We have brought all ACT public mental health services together into a single service, known as Mental Health ACT, enabling a unified approach to policy, planning and service delivery and a reduction in service duplication and competition.

The government has established an alcohol and other drugs task force to make recommendations to government on policy priorities and to develop the ACT alcohol and other drugs strategy. The government has a children's plan in development. The vision for the plan is to provide our children with the best chance to achieve their full potential.

In October 2002 an obesity seminar was held to raise greater awareness of the issue of overweight and obesity in the ACT and we have introduced a vitality campaign promoting good nutrition, physical activity and wellbeing. I encourage members to read the report, which provides baseline data for a rational and well-considered approach to the planning of health services in the ACT and an understanding of the wellbeing of our community.


Mr Corbell presented the following paper:

ACT Public Hospitals-3rd Quarter 2002-03-Service Activity Report.

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