Australia: the healthiest country by 2020
National Preventative Health Strategy - Overview
1. Shared responsibility – developing strategic partnerships
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The Taskforce believes that health is a shared responsibility, with individuals, families and local neighbourhoods being at the centre of the Strategy. The diversity of players that can make significant contributions to this shared effort are outlined below (and further detailed in the Tables at the end of this Executive Summary).
- Community-based organisations such as Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organisations, local health, sporting, recreational, cultural and welfare groups.
- Local governments play a pivotal role in providing local amenities, and can partner with local organisations in areas such as exercise, active recreation and sport, food security, managing alcohol outlets and tobacco regulations. They can also assist with planning to increase physical activity and active use of the local government area. To do this, they need resources, both human and financial.
- State and territory governments are key leaders, funders, legislators, regulators, service providers and employers across a range of sectors that underpin the nation’s capacity to promote health and prevent illness; for example, health, education, alcohol licensing, law enforcement, urban planning, transport and housing.
- The Australian Government has the overall responsibility for national leadership, policy, legislation and regulation, and for the funding and implementation, measurement and accountability for the Strategy. All three levels of government are major employers, for whom promoting health and preventing illness will also mean increasing productivity.
- Non-government organisations play a vital role at the national and state levels as providers of research and development, advocacy, social marketing and primary care.
- Whether as producer, marketer or employer, the private sector has a profound influence on the health of Australians. The most relevant are the food, beverage and alcohol industries, media, advertising, private health insurance, workplace insurance, self-medication, fitness and weight-loss industries.
- National and state entities such as the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the Social Inclusion Board and the state-based Health Promotion Foundations are essential providers of research and practice expertise, advice, funding capacity and policy direction.
- Professional associations across a range of health promotion, primary care and other non-health sector disciplines and research and academic groups are essential to maintaining and growing the prevention research and practice workforce.
- New partnerships can develop to improve the health of 10 million Australians in the workplace. These can be between private and public sector employers, insurers, health insurers, unions and workplace health promotion providers. Similarly, partnerships between police, local government and hospitality and entertainment venues can better enhance alcohol licensing and tobacco regulations.
Making good health the responsibility of all sectors
The sport and recreation sector provides programs, resources and opportunities for all Australians to participate in sport and recreation – at a number of different levels.
The education sector plays an important role in early childhood development and with children and young people in schools and tertiary education.
The infrastructure, public transport, planning and urban design sectors help shape active, connected and safe neighbourhoods.
The police, welfare and justice systems are vital to the reduction of alcohol-related harm.
Climate change is an overriding issue that impacts on this Strategy. There are obvious synergies between reduction in fossil fuel usage and increased personal energy expenditure through walking, cycling, public transport and other approaches to promoting physical activity in the workplace and community.
Treasuries and finance departments are key partners in prevention, playing the central role in investment in well-evidenced policies, in consideration of prevention evaluation results and promotion of important prevention strategies such as pricing and taxation.
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