Questioned yesterday during consideration in detail on the health budget appropriations, Health Minister Peter Dutton was unable to point to any new preventive program the Government is funding or answer whether the Government has a preventive health strategy.
All the Minister could point to was the Government’s decision to abolish the Australian National Preventive Health Agency and Health Workforce Australia: two agencies working to reduce the burden of chronic disease and ensure that Australia’s future health workforce is properly planned and resourced to meet demand.
‘The Minister couldn’t even answer a simple question on whether additional funding would be provided for preventive health. The Abbott Government has abandoned preventative health in Australia.’ Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King said.
‘Labor increased investment in preventive health because it reduces pressure on our health system. This Government’s record on preventive health shows how out of touch it is with the pressures on Australia’s health system and the health needs of Australians.’
While Minister Dutton made a pre-election commitment to increase funding for bowel screening, his actions in Government have shown a complete lack of interest in preventive health measures.
He has ripped more than $360 million from programs that were tackling obesity, increasing physical activity and improving healthy eating for adults and children around Australia by tearing up the National Partnership Agreement on Preventative Health.
On top of this Mr Dutton has taken $3 million out of the National Tobacco Campaign.
Labor recognised the need for programs that helped people to be more physically active, to eat healthier, to stop smoking and to reduce drinking at risky levels.
The Abbott Government promised ‘no cuts to health’ before the election. This latest attack on preventive health shows the Abbott Government cannot be trusted when it comes to our health system.
Labor will stand up to the Abbott Government’s cuts to preventive health.