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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 August 2016) . . Page.. 2692 ..


who carry a heavy load every single day. Sometimes ultimately, because of this load, they suffer their own mental health concerns. I hope we will continue to do the best we can to respect and support those with mental health needs in our city and surrounds.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo—Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, Minister for Transport Canberra and City Services and Assistant Minister for Health) (8.32): I am very pleased today to stand to talk about the ACT government’s record investments in Health as part of the 2016-17 budget and the very proud record this government has in ensuring that Canberrans continue to have access to the best health care possible. As Minister Corbell has said, health makes up one-third of the entire ACT budget and we will continue to prioritise health. It is this level of investment that demonstrates the importance Labor places on making sure everyone in our community can get access to health care when and where they need it.

Canberra is one of the healthiest communities in the country. We lead the nation in life expectancy and in many areas we have lower levels of chronic disease than our counterparts. We have a healthy environment and clear air, clean drinking water and access to healthy and safe food. As our city is planned, we have lots of open space and parkland, which gives us many opportunities to enjoy active and healthy lifestyles with our families and friends.

Indeed, the latest Chief Health Officer’s report, Healthy Canberra, released in June, shows where we lead the nation in the key indicators of a healthy community. We lead Australia in childhood immunisation with nearly 91 per cent immunisation coverage for children aged 12 months. We have 78 per cent of year 7 students receiving full doses of the human papilloma virus vaccination. Also the Healthy Canberra report shows we are leading the way in tackling smoking with the ACT’s daily smoking rate the lowest in the country. In 1996 only 44 per cent of high school students said that they had never smoked. Today that number is 81 per cent, a fantastic achievement that as a community we can be proud of.

There is, of course, always more for us to do to improve the health of our city and that is why through this year’s budget we are investing over $144 million for rehabilitation, aged and community care; $37 million in public health initiatives; and $94 million in early intervention and prevention services.

We know that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop chronic disease which in turn impacts on their lifestyles, our health system and the cost of delivering services that we provide the community. Although recently the proportion of overweight or obese adults and children has remained relatively stable, which is great news, the important work of the ACT government’s healthy weight initiative will continue to be rolled out to encourage more people to become active and choose to eat healthier foods.

As part of this, the 2016-17 budget invests $1.5 million to continue to address the overweight and obesity levels across the ACT, to continue to deliver existing programs and to implement exciting new initiatives. A further investment of


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