LNP fails state's greatest health challenge

Posted on November 21, 2014

The Together union says the LNP government has failed to make Queenslanders healthier and has broken its promises to Queenslanders. The Union highlighted cuts to public preventive health and nutrition services from mid-2012 and the report released yesterday that Queensland has the nation’s highest obesity rate.

Together Secretary Alex Scott said today, “In September 2012 the Newman government axed health promotion and nutrition programs across the state along with hundreds of nutrition and health promotion staff. The programs that these health workers delivered were aimed at improving the nutrition of Queenslanders, helping to reduce and prevent obesity and alcohol consumption and to prevent related deaths as well as improving nutrition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples."

Mr Scott referred to a report, prepared by the staff that provided these services and said, “Many of these programs were focussed on creating healthier communities in regional and rural Queensland. “This was the case for the work done by the staff of the Tropical Public Health Unit which included Environmental Health, Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology and Medical Entomology as well as Health Promotion and Public Health Nutrition until the government disbanded regional Health Promotion and Public Health Nutrition services.

Mr Scott added, “These professionals, every day, worked to keep people out of hospital, to keep people healthy and help them be healthier.

"At the same time the government has also cut funding to alcohol and drug prevention, nutrition promotion and healthy lifestyle programs run by the non-government sector. The health minister cut these health services while talking about reducing duplication but has left regional communities without these services. Yesterday we have seen the result.”

Mr Scott said that right now this government is at it again, putting at risk the home and community care services in Far North Queensland that keep people healthier and help them stay out of hospital.

Together President and scientist Vivienne Doogan said, “Health experts, health workers and peak professional bodies all warned the government what the outcome of these cuts would be and we have seen the results yesterday in the Chief Health Officer’s report."

Ms Doogan said members are asking why this government axed nutrition and physical activity workers’ jobs, emphasising that having the country’s worst rate of obesity is barely a surprise when crucial staff and local programs are axed.

"Time and time again we have warned this government about sacking Queenslanders," Ms Doogan said.

"The logic of cutting the preventative health budget to make savings was and still is bizarre.

"In slashing public preventative health services the Newman government was and still is getting rid of the most effective way of reducing health costs for Queenslanders in ten years' time.

"You spend money on public preventive health care to save heath costs in the future."

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Connect today 1800 177 244 members@together.org.au