Media releases

Media releases and statements by Rachel Stephen-Smith

Plan to keep Canberrans healthy

December 04, 2019

The ACT Government has launched a new plan to support Canberrans to be healthy and active across all stages of life.

The new Healthy Canberra: ACT Preventive Health Plan 2020-2025 sets out a framework for preventing chronic disease and supporting improved health and wellbeing outcomes, with the aim of keeping Canberrans well and out of hospital.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Plan was about shifting the focus from treating illness to preventing illness. This builds on the ACT Government’s investments in health prevention over the past decade.

“Our hospitals, health services and the health professionals that work in them do a fantastic job providing quality health care to Canberrans when they need it. Ensuring that our specialist health services are supported to do their job will always be a priority for our government.

“But we also need to invest in keeping Canberrans healthy through better preventive, primary and community-based care. This will not only take pressure off our hospitals and health services but will also see more Canberrans living in good health, enjoying full and active lives.

“The ACT Government has a strong record in preventive health. As our community continues to grow and age, this new Healthy Canberra Plan will continue our focus on prevention across the health system.

“I particularly want to thank the community partners who have worked with the ACT Government to develop the Healthy Canberra Plan. Consumers, self-help groups and non-government organisations have a vital role to play in creating a healthier Canberra – as do other ACT Government in helping to address the social determinants of poor health,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

The Healthy Canberra Plan has five key priority areas:

  • supporting children and families
  • enabling active living
  • increasing healthy eating
  • reducing risky behaviours
  • promoting healthy ageing.

The Plan will deliver tailored approaches to different population groups recognising their health needs and priorities.

It will address the leading lifestyle risk factors – tobacco use, dietary risks, physical inactivity and alcohol use – that contribute to over a third of the total burden of disease in Australia.

It will also focus on supporting families to set up a strong foundation for good health in the first 1000 days of a child’s life and align with the Government’s First 1000 Days Strategy that is currently in development.

“This is about ensuring children get the best start in life to establish good health and carry this throughout their lives. And for this to happen, the first 1000 days of a person’s life is critical,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

A new Preventive Health Coordinator will be appointed in early 2020 to oversee the implementation of the Plan across ACT Government. The Coordinator will work in partnership with community and health sector organisations to implement a range of actions under the Plan to help keep Canberrans healthy and active.

This includes focusing on making sure the environments where we live, work, learn and socialise promote and enable healthy living – something we will continue to support through targeted Healthy Canberra Grants rounds.

The Healthy Canberra: ACT Preventive Health Plan is on the ACT Health website here.