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Better Prevention - A Healthy South Australia

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will support community-wide health and prevention services with the aim of reaching all South Australians.

The Problem

Preventable health conditions cost us dearly.

For example, obesity costs $120 billion a year in Australia.

Alcohol misuse costs $36 billion every year. The list goes on.

For every dollar invested in health promotion, it is estimated that we can save over five dollars in health spending.

But for too long, the Weatherill Government has dropped the ball on prevention.

It has defunded South Australia’s health promotion and prevention services, centralised primary healthcare services and failed to develop broad public health initiatives. Labor thinks it can ‘transform health’ by focusing on metropolitan hospitals.

Maintaining good health and wellbeing – physical, mental and social well-being - is a shared responsibility of the individual, government and for the community more broadly.

Better health and wellbeing requires effective action for prevention.

For most South Australians, prevention is fundamentally about looking after ourselves – through diet, exercise, spending time with our family and friends, and making healthy choices in life.

Effective prevention benefits individuals, communities and government.

Investing in prevention avoids future costs to both the individual and the government.

Good health is a foundation for South Australians to reach their full potential and live with dignity.

Communities and individuals should be supported and informed to make healthy choices.

Their wellbeing needs to be supported through an integrated web of health and other services

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will support community-wide health and prevention services with the aim of reaching all South Australians.

We will invest in prevention and work to rebalance health service funding.

Effective prevention requires dedicated long-term action in many areas of our community.

A Marshall Liberal Government will pursue prevention outcomes through five key strategic levers:

  1. Individual and Community Action
  2. Education, Screening and Vaccination
  3. Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation
  4. Public Health Regulation
  5. Leadership and Coordination

1. Prevention through Individual and Community Action

A Marshall Liberal Government will support and implement policies that encourage and enable individuals and communities to make healthy choices.

We will establish a Healthy Communities Program which focuses on five goals:

  • Increasing physical activity by individuals and communities;
  • Decreasing rates of smoking;
  • Decreasing rates of problem alcohol consumption;
  • Increasing access to affordable healthy food; and
  • Improving the knowledge of all South Australians about what it takes to be healthy.

The Program will be implemented at the local community level. For example, we will establish the South Australian Health Towns Challenge by investing $1 million over four years to fund preventive health projects in regional areas.

Each year, five towns will be provided with up to $50,000 for a project to have measurable and immediate benefits for health and wellbeing.

All towns within the Country Health SA region will be eligible to participate in the Challenge, with applications required to be made in partnership with a non-government organisation such or a university.

Projects could include:

  • Subsidising health coaching for prospective mothers (e.g. weight, smoking);
  • Providing skin cancer screening at a Field Day;
  • Delivering workplace based suicide prevention programs;
  • Providing community based sporting equipment; or
  • Installing drinking stations on walking and cycling routes.

Each year there will be an award for the town that achieves the most improvements towards healthier living.

2. Prevention Through Education, Screening and Vaccination

A Marshall Liberal Government will encourage every South Australian to be health aware and responsible through provision of pro-active services such as health information, screening and vaccinations.

It will support South Australians to identify any particular risks that they may face and work with communities to raise awareness and inform them of any actions they can take to avoid the onset of illness.

3. Prevention Through Research, Monitoring and Evaluation

As we move towards our bicentenary in 2036, a Marshall Liberal Government wants South Australia to be a State that nurtures health and wellbeing.

No matter where in South Australia you choose to live, you should be confident that a Marshall Liberal Government will prioritise your ongoing good health.

With evidence-based strategies, refreshed by evaluation, monitoring and research, we will strive to maximise the impact of services and address the threat of ill-health.

A Marshall Liberal Government will:

  • Ensure South Australia undertakes health and wellbeing monitoring and reporting in a timelyand meaningful way;
  • Monitor funding and evaluate the success of primary health prevention campaigns to ensure the investment reflects needs and is effective in addressing those needs;
  • Fund research that reflects community need; and
  • Report to Parliament each year on Preventive Health activity across South Australia and, in particular, across Government. 

4. Prevention Through Public Health Regulation

Unhealthy choices by some should not be able to adversely affect the health of others.

A Marshall Liberal Government will provide a sustained focus on public health so that the environment in which we live is free of
contamination and the food that we eat nourishes us 

We will actively advocate for all State Government agencies to pursue integrated health and wellbeing policies.

5. Prevention Through Leadership and Coordination

Effective action towards prevention requires leadership and coordination of partnerships.

A Marshall Liberal Government will provide this leadership and coordination in South Australia by:

  • Establishing a stand-alone Chief Public Health Officer;
  • Establishing “Wellbeing SA” as a Prevention, Health Promotion and Primary Health Care agency, within SA Health. Separate from hospitals and health services, Wellbeing SA will be able to advocate for and purchase services in public health and health promotion – it will include a health promotion branch and focus on preventing health issues before they arise; and
  • Maximising partnerships for prevention across South Australia through networks which embrace all Government Departments, the Commonwealth Government, primary health networks, local councils, Local Health Networks, and non-government organisations.

Part of our plan for SA