States agree on national health programs

By Paul Hemsley

Representatives from Australian states, territories and the Commonwealth each gave talks on their program implementation plans under the National Partnership Preventive Health Agreement.

All Australian states and territories except Victoria were represented at the state panel at the Health and Productivity Management Congress in Sydney, where each presented their individual health programs under the national agreement.

The National Partnership Preventive Health Agreement is a federal initiative targeting lifestyle related chronic disease by promoting healthy behaviours through communities, education, workplaces and marketing.

Queensland Health detailed its ‘Workplaces for Wellness’ initiative; the Northern Territory Department of Health outlined its ‘Healthy@Work’ program, and Population Health Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania announced its ‘Get Moving@Work’ kit.

Department of Heath and Ageing Director for Healthy Children, Healthy Workers Section, Healthy Living Branch, Cath Winter said the National Partnership Agreement has a total funding of $872 million for state activities.

“A critical part of the partnership is the work of the states and territories and how funding has been divided up,” Ms Winter said.

According to Ms Winter, Healthy Workers Initiative provides $290 million to be divided between the states and territories to fund the activities.

Ms Winter said the activities vary between each state and territory in terms of project procurement.

“Certainly some states and territories are doing a combination of outsourcing some activities and they go through their own procurement processes at various times,” Ms Winter said.

Ms Winter said other activities are being done within government, where project officers coordinate particular activities across places, as they are usually being sourced within government and its working in an integrated way.

“In some cases, we’re also bringing in peak organisations such as the Housing Industry Association of South Australia to work with project officers to make sure programs can be effectively implemented,” she said.

According to Ms Winter, separate programs need to be suitable and adapted to the environment when they are rolled out in each state or territory.

“The Commonwealth doesn’t have delivery responsibility, but we have had oversight of the overall policy and we’re also responsible for rolling out particular items of national support,” Ms Winter said.

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