Page 2589 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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Questions without notice taken on notice

Health—life expectancy

Ms GALLAGHER (in reply to a supplementary question by Ms Le Couteur on Thursday, 7 April 2011): I am advised that the answer to the Member’s question is:

The ACT Government has not, I understand, formally adopted the World Health Organisation’s social determinants of health framework, outlined in the 2008 Final Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health – Closing the Gap in a Generation.

ACT Government policy, particularly the Canberra Plan and associated plans, and the 2010-2011 ALP ACT Branch Platform do, however, have a significant focus on addressing the social determinants of health within a social justice framework. The determinants are also referenced in a range of ACT Health policies and programs, including Towards a Healthier ACT – A Strategic Framework for the Population Health Division 2010-1015; Building A Strong Foundation: A Framework for Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing in the ACT 2009-2014; and strategies relating to primary health care and ambulatory services. Similarly the business of other government agencies, such as the Chief Minister’s Department, Department of Education and Training, the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services is influenced by the need to address the social determinants of health.

I am confident therefore that, although not a Member State of the World Organization, the ACT Government is responding comprehensively to Resolution 14 of the 62nd World Health Assembly in 2009 in response to the Final Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. This resolution urges Member States

1) to tackle the health inequities within and across countries through political commitment on the main principles of “closing the gap in a generation” as a national concern, as is appropriate, and to coordinate and manage intersectoral action for health in order to mainstream health equity in all policies, where appropriate, by using health and health equity impact assessment tools;

2) to develop and implement goals and strategies to improve public health with a focus on health inequities;

3) to take into account health equity in all national policies that address social determinants of health, and to consider developing and strengthening universal comprehensive social protection policies, including health promotion, disease prevention and health care, and promoting availability of and access to goods and services essential to health and well-being; and

4) to ensure dialogue and cooperation among relevant sectors with the aim of integrating a consideration of health into relevant public policies and enhancing intersectoral action.

The policies and programs of all ACT Government agencies impact, directly or indirectly, on the health and wellbeing of Canberrans. As I stated in the Assembly on 7 April 2011, I have asked the Chief Health Officer for advice on these issues. There are further opportunities through the recommendations of the Hawke Review and the

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