Good Start won’t Stop! – How to save a program in just 2 weeks!

Posted June 13, 2014 by Alex Scott

Just a few days ago, Together members in the Good Start Program got the best news they’ve heard in weeks – their collective pressure forced the Health Minister to change his decision and fund their program!

Just weeks earlier, the federal budget stopped funding a range of critical preventative health programs, including Good Start, a statewide program run by the Queensland government through Children’s Health Queensland.

Good Start has been changing health attitudes and outcomes for young Maori and Pacific Islander people across the state. These communities experience diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases up to nine times more frequently than others in the Queensland population. People are dying early and suffering terribly from these diseases, even though we know this is preventable. And that’s where Good Start comes in.

On 3 June, the Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg also turned his back on Good Start by not allocating funding in the Queensland budget. Staff were told they had only four weeks until they had to pack up their desks and shut down the program.

But Good Start staff decided that that wasn’t good enough. This critical preventative health work needed to continue. They joined Together and campaigned to ramp up the pressure on the Queensland Health Minister to change his mind.

Members launched a petition on Change.org calling on Lawrence Springborg to fund Good Start, attracting over a thousand signatures in a few days. Members made sure that hundreds of letters of support were sent to the minister - from School principals, project participants, community leaders and even from the Mayor of Logan, Pam Parker. Good Start union delegates met with their employer, and called and met with their local MPs. The Good Start petition was even mentioned in federal Parliament by the Member for Rankin Jim Chalmers. Hundreds of photos spread across social media, with sports stars and celebrities holding signs - “Bringing health back to our people - #savegoodstart”.

The pressure mounted on the Minister, as thousands of people got behind the campaign to Save Good Start.

The continued funding of Good Start, along with five other preventative health programs, was announced on Tuesday by Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, just eight days after being left out of the Queensland budget.

We’d like to congratulate the Together members from the Good Start Program. You’ve shown everyone it’s possible to save a program in less than 2 weeks!  We’d also like to thank the other union members and community members who supported them. Because of a strong and active group of members and supporters thousands of peoples lives will be better.

Good Start is now funded up to June 2015. Before then, we will be making sure that all politicians are prepared to stick by Good Start and other good preventative health programs. The health of our communities depends on it.

PS. Have you completed your Health CHECK-UP yet? Have your say about the future of Health services in Queensland here.

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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