National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030

George Institute calls for commitment to prevention ahead of federal election

Open letter to Australia’s next government, 16 May 2022

Ahead of the 2022 Federal election, The George Institute for Global Health calls on all political parties to commit to developing a clear and explicit implementation plan for the National Preventive Health Strategy’s ‘Blueprint for Action’ in the first 100 days of government.

The National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030 (NPHS) is an important milestone and a credible and evidence-based strategy that will, if properly funded and implemented, deliver a healthier, more equitable Australia. Australian governments, the health sector and community members have worked together to develop the strategy. To date, no political party has committed to funding the implementation of this strategy during the 2022 election cycle.

Commitment to the goals of the NPHS, coupled with appropriate investment, is urgently needed to reverse the spiralling growth in disease burden and to help protect the health of all Australians.

Nearly half of all Australians have one or more chronic condition, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer or type 2 diabetes. Yet, Australia’s per capita expenditure on preventive health ranks in the bottom half of OECD countries.

As Australia heads to the ballot box, we call on all political parties to commit to a concrete plan for implementing the NPHS ‘Blueprint for Action’ in the first 100 days of government.

Key priorities for action in the NPHS include:

  • Invest in prevention by committing 5% of health expenditure to prevention.
  • Launch an independent, expert-led governance process to advise on prevention priorities and the use of the prevention fund.
  • Futureproof the public health workforce by developing and enhancing expertise and capacity, including digital training and improved health systems infrastructure.
  • Improve health literacy by creating a national health information platform to empower consumers.
  • Link prevention with primary care by aligning the Blueprint for Action with the Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.
  • Develop evidence-based preventive health mechanisms by investing in a robust research sector.
  • Strengthen health equity by ensuring an equity lens underpins preventive health, prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other communities experiencing vulnerability.
  • Build innovative partnerships and develop consumer engagement between and within sectors, using the National Consumer Engagement Strategy 2021-2030.
  • Boost action in target focus areas such as anti-smoking, healthier diets and environments to deliver early wins in reducing the burden of disease at population level.

Australia’s healthcare system enables citizens to enjoy world-class treatments and programs, underpinned by a robust research sector. But effective governments don’t just invest in treating health problems – they invest in preventing them, especially for the most at-risk communities. Every dollar spent on prevention leads to better outcomes and significant health-system savings.