Online version of the 2012-13 Department of Health and Ageing Annual Report

Outcome 1: Population Health

A reduction in the incidence of preventable mortality and morbidity in Australia, including through regulation and national initiatives that support healthy lifestyles and disease prevention

Page last updated: 29 October 2013

Major Achievements

  • Australia is a world leader in tobacco control. Taking full effect from 1 December 2012, all tobacco products are required to be sold in plain packaging and have new, larger health warnings.
  • Every day, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is saving lives through early detection. The Department has successfully negotiated with service providers to expand the program to include people turning 60 from 1 July 2013.
  • Australia is the first country to introduce a national Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program. In early February 2013, the program was extended to include males. Eligible females and males aged 12 to 13 years are receiving the vaccine free of charge through the ongoing school-based vaccination program and a two year catch-up program for males aged 14 to 15 years.
  • The nation’s obesity crisis is being tackled head-on. The 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children were released to help health professionals improve nutrition, treat obesity and overweight and improve community health and wellbeing.
  • The potential impact of industrial chemicals on human health and the environment is being reduced. Using the Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation (IMAP) Framework (introduced in July 2012), the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) conducted close to 1,000 assessments for industrial chemicals already in use in Australia, making recommendations on a significant number of chemicals.

Challenges

  • While Australia’s anti-smoking message is being increasingly heard around the world, the fight is not yet over. Australia will continue to respond to international legal challenges to the new requirements for plain packaging of tobacco products.
  • It is crucial that public confidence in the safety of the National Immunisation Program is maintained. Ongoing monitoring of correct administration of vaccines to children will continue.
  • Adult overweight and obesity rates are continuing to rise, with 62.8% of Australians aged 18 years and over being overweight or obese, according to the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey. The development of revised national guidelines will promote prevention of overweight and obesity.
  • Supporting a whole of government response to new psychoactive substances, which often mimic the effects of longstanding illicit drugs.
  • Continuing to balance both industry and community considerations as the assessment of the impact of new industrial chemicals becomes increasingly complex.

Performance

This is a doughnut chart and a table that summarises the results for all deliverables and key performance indicators in outcome 1 during 2012-13. The results show that 71.2% were met compared with 73.3% in 2011-12, 23.7 % were substantially met compared with 18.7% in 2011-12 and 5.1% were not met compared with 6% in 2011-12.

71.2% MET

23.7% SUBSTANTIALLY MET

5.1% NOT MET





Period Met Substantially met Not met
2012-13 71.2% 23.7% 5.1%
2011-12 73.3% 18.7% 6.0%

Programs contributing to Outcome 1

Trends

More than nine out of every 10 Australian children are now immunised. Immunisation rates continue to be high. Childhood immunisation rates are measured at one, two and five years of age with five year olds having the lowest rate. In 2011, the fully immunised coverage rate for five year olds reached almost 90% with a rate of 89.84%. This has steadily increased and in 2012, for the first time, the five year old coverage rate exceeded 90% with a rate of 90.80%. In 2013, the rate increased to 91.54%.

See graph under Program 1.5.

Outcome Strategy

Outcome 1 aims to reduce the incidence of preventable mortality and morbidity throughout Australia by tackling lifestyle factors associated with chronic illness, detecting disease earlier when it does occur, and reducing the spread of infectious disease. In 2012-13, the Department worked to achieve this Outcome by managing initiatives under the programs outlined below.

Program 1.1: Prevention, early detection and service improvement

Program 1.1 aims to reduce the incidence of chronic disease by encouraging Australians to lead healthy lifestyles, supporting early detection and prevention of cancer, and improving chronic disease management.

Reduce the incidence of chronic disease and promote healthier lifestyles

Chronic disease is responsible for a significant portion of disease burden in Australia. The Department is tackling this in a number of areas, including asthma and diabetes.

Chronic Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund

Established in July 2011, the Chronic Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund provides a flexible funding pool for initiatives related to chronic disease service improvement and prevention, particularly within the primary and community sectors.

During 2012-13, the Government provided $67 million for a range of chronic disease prevention and service improvement activities in accordance with the fund guidelines.

These included community education programs and training of school and preschool teachers, medical, allied health and aged care staff on asthma and linked chronic respiratory conditions. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers located primarily in rural and remote areas were also trained to provide accurate diabetes-related pathology testing on site to better manage diabetes.

Support early detection and prevention of cancer through screening initiatives

Bowel Cancer Screening

In the 2012-13 Budget, the Australian Government committed to expand the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to include 60 year olds from July 2013 and 70 year olds from July 2015. The phased implementation of biennial screening for all Australians aged between 50 and 74 years of age will begin from 2017-18.

In 2012-13, the Department worked with program partners, including state and territory governments, to implement the expansion. This included providing information and advice about the changes to the program to GPs and Medicare Locals, and consumer information in 19 different languages.

Breast Cancer Screening

Screening for breast cancer saves lives. From 2013-14, BreastScreen Australia will be expanded so that women 70-74 years of age will be actively invited to participate in free breast screening.

During 2012-13, the Department continued to work with the states and territories to provide free screening, targeted at women 50-69 years of age.

Cervical Screening

The Department continued work in the areas of early detection and prevention of cervical cancer through the National Cervical Screening Program. Since the introduction of this program in 1991, there has been a 50% reduction in deaths from cervical cancer.18

An evidence-based review of the national cervical screening policy and program is being managed by the Department. A draft review of the evidence was released for public consultation in June 2013 and the review will be completed by June 2014.

Chronic disease management and support

Diabetes

The Department continues to tackle the nation’s diabetes epidemic – including managing the largest randomised controlled trial involving diabetes patients ever conducted in Australia. In 2012-13, the Department worked with a consortium led by McKinsey and Company to implement the Diabetes Care Project in identified sites across Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. The pilot project will test new ways of providing more flexible and better coordinated care, with the aim of improving the management of care for people with diabetes.

The project is piloting four key changes in how care is delivered to people with diabetes:

  • a new care facilitator role to collaborate with the care team to support patient care;
  • an education and training program to support practitioners and people with diabetes;
  • a new chronic disease management IT tool to support care planning, enable information sharing and reduce administration; and
  • a new funding model.

The Department will continue to implement the pilot in 2013-14. This will include ongoing data collection to inform formal evaluation starting in February 2014. The evaluation of the pilot will help the Department to identify the most effective models of care for diabetes and other chronic diseases.

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Program 1.2: Communicable disease control

Program 1.2 aims to reduce the incidence of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections.

Reduce the incidence of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections

Blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections are preventable. The Department continued to support education and prevention programs under the National Blood Borne Viruses (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) Strategies 2010-2013 which aim to better connect safe sex and prevention messages with the people most at risk. The strategies aim to improve knowledge, attitudes and behaviours among target groups. These include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse Australians, youth, people in rural and regional areas, and people who inject drugs.

In October 2012, the Department published a mid-term review of the Implementation Plan: National Strategies 2010-2013 for BBVs and STIs.22 Recommendations included addressing increased transmission of HIV among people from, and travelling to, high prevalence countries; scaling up treatment capacity for hepatitis C as new treatments become available; scaling up hepatitis B antiviral treatment to meet demand; and eliminating syphilis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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Program 1.3: Drug strategy

Program 1.3 aims to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco use, reduce the harm caused to individuals and communities from excessive alcohol consumption and combat illicit drug use.

Reduce the harmful effects of tobacco use

The world’s first tobacco plain packaging legislation, the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 and the Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations 2011, took full effect from 1 December 2012. The legislation prohibits tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours and promotional text other than brand and product names in a standard colour, position, font style and size appearing on retail packaging of tobacco products. Tobacco product retail packaging is required to appear in a drab dark brown colour in a matt finish. Under the Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011, requirements for new, larger health warnings on all tobacco products took full effect from 1 December 2012, in line with plain packaging requirements.

Compliance and enforcement activities under the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 began on 1 October 2012 for manufacturing and packaging offences, and on 1 December 2012 for supply and sales offences. These include inspections of manufacturers, retailers and suppliers based on information received by the Department. Enforcement action undertaken under the legislation is proportionate to the breach and involves a range of actions including, as appropriate, educational visits, verbal or written warnings, infringement notices and prosecutions. The Tobacco Plain Packaging Enforcement Policy explains the approach to enforcement and is available at www.yourhealth.gov.au.

During 2012-13, the Department, along with the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, continued working to defend the international challenges to the tobacco plain packaging legislation.

Also in 2012-13, the Department developed a new National Tobacco Strategy to guide efforts to reduce the harm caused by tobacco smoking. The Department continued to run social marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and encourage attempts to quit among high risk and hard to reach populations.

Reduce harm to individuals and communities from excessive alcohol consumption

Under the guidance of the National Drug Strategy 2010-15, the Department continues to partner with a range of stakeholders to increase awareness and promotion of responsible alcohol consumption.

This includes raising awareness among health practitioners of the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. Point of sale information has targeted a range of groups – including patrons of liquor retailers, clubs, pubs and hotels; and pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding – through distribution of over one million brochures. This work has been undertaken in the context of broader activity to reduce the impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Substance Misuse Service Delivery Grants Fund

The Substance Misuse Service Delivery Grants Fund aims to improve the health and social outcomes of Australians with substance misuse issues. The fund supports drug and alcohol treatment services across Australia, to build capacity and effectively identify and treat coinciding mental illness and substance misuse. The fund also supports services targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and vulnerable groups, including people from rural and remote locations and those experiencing homelessness.

The Non Government Organisations Treatment Grants Program (NGOTGP) provides funding to improve drug and alcohol treatment outcomes, increase the number of available treatment places, strengthen the capacity of non-government organisations to deliver quality treatment services and to fill geographic service delivery gaps, especially for at-risk groups. The NGOTGP activities complement and support those undertaken through the Fund.

Early Intervention Pilot Program

The Early Intervention Pilot Program (EIPP) aims to get youth who have been participating in under-age drinking back on track before more serious alcohol-related problems emerge. Working with all state and territory police and health departments, young people are moved from engagement with police to the health system, where they receive information and are offered counselling to encourage a change in attitudes and behaviours.

Combat illicit drug use

The National Drugs Campaign continues to educate the public on the risks and harms associated with illicit drug use through targeted information and resources for youth and parents.

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Program 1.4: Regulatory policy

Program 1.4 aims to provide direction and national leadership in food and gene technology regulatory policy issues, maintain and improve the therapeutic goods regulatory framework, and provide for the safe and sustainable use of industrial chemicals.

Food regulation policy

Develop food standards and food regulation policy

Food standards and regulation ensure the health of Australians is protected and supported by a safe food supply.

The Department continued to undertake activities to support the development of food standards, food regulation policy and advice. This involved working with stakeholders including industry representatives, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), states and territories and the New Zealand Government.

In 2012-13, the Department reviewed and responded to advances in scientific knowledge and evidence, stakeholder feedback and developments in food regulatory practice at a national level. The Department also helped influence the development of food regulation at the international level through membership of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling.

The Department continued to implement the Government response to Labelling Logic: Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy (2011) in consultation with portfolio agencies including FSANZ, other Australian government departments, states and territories and New Zealand.

Therapeutic goods

Ensure that therapeutic goods are safe, effective and of high quality

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ensures the quality, safety and efficacy of therapeutic goods in Australia. In 2012-13, the TGA continued to regulate therapeutic goods under a national framework, using a risk management approach. Assessment and monitoring were carried out to ensure therapeutic goods available in Australia were of an acceptable standard, and manufactured in accordance with the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice. This included assessment of annual reports from sponsors of Class III and implantable devices following entry on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).28 At the same time, the TGA continued to ensure that the community had access, within a reasonable timeframe, to therapeutic advances.

Implement the TGA Reform Blueprint

Delivering reforms – Implementation plan for TGA Reforms: A blueprint for TGA’s future was published on the TGA website31 in July 2012 and significant progress has been made in delivering the Blueprint recommendations in accordance with the detailed plan.

Establish the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency

The Australian and New Zealand Governments are creating a joint regulatory scheme for therapeutic products in Australia and New Zealand. The scheme will safeguard public health and safety, further economic integration, and benefit industry in both countries.

In 2012-13, the Department continued working with the New Zealand Ministry of Health and other Australian and New Zealand Government policy agencies to establish the arrangements for the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA), which will administer the joint regulatory scheme.

TGA and New Zealand’s Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe) implemented joint regulatory projects. These resulted in:

  • a publicly searchable, joint database of adverse event notifications for medicines and for medical devices;
  • increased capability to conduct inspections of manufacturing practices;
  • a common early warning system for advising the public about investigations into potential safety concerns associated with medicines and medical devices;
  • a common recalls portal; and
  • common administrative processes for evaluation of over-the-counter medicine registrations in both countries.

The first stage to implement a single entry point for businesses and consumers was launched in November 2012. In January 2013, the TGA and Medsafe released a public consultation paper on a possible joint regulatory scheme for therapeutic products under ANZTPA.

Industrial chemicals

Ensure that uses of industrial chemicals are safe for human health and the environment

In 2012-13, the Department, through the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), continued to protect human health and the environment by promoting safe and sustainable use of industrial chemicals.

This was achieved through 281 pre-market assessments of new industrial chemicals. In addition, NICNAS assessed 727 industrial chemicals already in use, through its Existing Chemicals Program (through the Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation [IMAP] framework, or as Priority Existing Chemicals [PEC], or when an introducer of a chemical that had been previously assessed advised NICNAS of new information about the chemical [‘secondary notification assessment’]).

To promote the safe use of chemicals, NICNAS continued to engage with its key stakeholders – the chemical industry, the community (including employees who work with chemicals), the Australian Government and state and territory governments – through national networks, advisory committees and information sharing activities.

Under a Better Regulation Ministerial Partnership (BRMP) between the Minister for Health and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, the Department progressed the review of NICNAS.

The Department held consultations in July and August 2012, which discussed possible reform options. Following key stakeholder workshops in October 2012, a draft Regulatory Impact Statement was released in June 2013 on the possible impacts of reform options. The complex nature of the industrial chemical regulatory environment and the diverse views of industry and community stakeholders present challenges to the development of a preferred package of reform.

The Department will continue to work with NICNAS and other stakeholders to develop a regulatory reform package that would rebalance the industrial chemical regulatory framework to enhance both the competitiveness of the Australian chemical industry and public health and environmental outcomes.

Gene technology regulation

Protect the health and safety of people and the environment by regulating dealings with genetically modified organisms

The Gene Technology Regulator, supported by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), administers a national scheme for the regulation of gene technology to protect the health and safety of people and the environment by regulating certain dealings with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In 2012-13, OGTR monitored scientific knowledge and developments in regulatory practice to ensure the assessments of applications required under the gene technology legislation were robust, based on current science and represent international best practice. OGTR engaged in international cooperation activities that included the harmonisation of risk assessment of GMOs. OGTR also consulted with experts and key stakeholders on the assessment of licence applications for the release of GMOs into the environment.

In consultation with stakeholders, OGTR conducted reviews to ensure that regulations, guidelines and processes remain current with advances in gene technology and understanding of risks. In 2012-13, OGTR also consulted with the community to resolve issues of concern, for example, risk management of GMOs.

OGTR continued bilateral arrangements with other Australian Government regulators, such as FSANZ; the TGA; the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority; Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; and NICNAS to improve coordinated decision making and avoid duplication in regulation of GMOs and genetically modified products. These activities deliver a risk-based, responsive, efficient and effective regulatory system that protects Australian people and the environment.

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Program 1.5: Immunisation

Program 1.5 aims to strengthen immunisation coverage and ensure a cost-effective process for the supply of vaccines.

Strengthen immunisation coverage

Australia has high rates of immunisation, with more than nine out of 10 children being fully immunised. In 2012-13, the Department continued to provide free vaccines to the Australian community through the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

High immunisation rates were maintained in 2012-13 with more than 91.3% of children at one, two and five years of age fully immunised – a steady improvement on the previous year. This was further strengthened in 2012-13 by linking eligibility with the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement to encourage parents to fully immunise their children. The Australian Government, through the Department, rewarded all states and territories with incentive payments as they had met performance targets listed in the National Partnership Agreement on Essential Vaccines.

However, while overall immunisation rates remain high, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children fully immunised at one year of age remains lower than all other children of the same age. Over the past decade, there have been significant increases in the immunisation coverage rates for Indigenous children across all age groups, with coverage for children over five years improving from just under 60% in 2004 to just over 92% in 2013.

The National Partnership Agreement on Essential Vaccines between the Commonwealth and the states and territories has a specific performance benchmark aimed at increasing immunisation coverage rates for Indigenous children. In July 2012, parents’ eligibility for the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement was linked to the immunisation status of their children at three age check points – one, two and five years of age. These arrangements create a strong financial incentive for parents to ensure their children are fully immunised.

Figure 1.1: Immunisation coverage – proportion of children fully immunised,36 by age, and Indigenous status, 2004-2013

The figure is a horizontal line chart with a y-axis showing the percentage of Indigenous children and all children fully immunised in the age groups of 12-15 months; 24-27 months; and 60-63 months between the years 2004-2012 (represented on the x-axis). The chart shows that over the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the immunisation coverage rates for Indigenous children across all the above mentioned age groups.

In 2013, the Department saw an increase in demand from those eligible to receive free influenza vaccination under the NIP. More than 4.27 million doses of influenza vaccine were ordered by states and territories compared to an average of 3.7 million doses in previous years. There was also increased demand for influenza vaccine for the private market. The Australian Government has worked closely with vaccine providers to ensure enough influenza vaccine is available for those most at risk of severe influenza.

Following a series of adverse events in 2010, namely febrile convulsions in children, bioCSL Fluvax was not approved by the TGA for use in children under five from late 2010. The 2013 seasonal influenza campaign communicated the correct use of influenza vaccines in children to GPs and immunisation providers. However, a small number of GPs and immunisation providers administered the bioCSL Fluvax influenza vaccine to children under five years of age. These providers were followed up by state and territory health authorities. The Department has implemented several measures during 2013 to address this issue and will build on these in 2014. Actions include packaging alerts on bioCSL Fluvax syringes; targeted messaging to all immunisation providers and monitoring of incorrect vaccine usage through the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register to promptly identify and follow-up with providers where bioCSL Fluvax was given to children under five years of age.

All states and territories started implementing the extended National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Program in schools in early 2013. The Department led a national communication campaign, developed in consultation with states and territories. To better monitor adverse events following immunisation for HPV, the Department enhanced the existing surveillance system. This included implementation of a rapid school-based reporting of four acute types of adverse events. As expected, there was an increase in reported adverse events due to the increased number of vaccinations being given. However, no unexpected adverse events occurred and no safety concerns have been identified in males or females.

The HPV vaccine coverage rate for Australian girls aged 15 years who have received all three doses is 71.2% and remains among the best in the world, with vaccination coverage already resulting in significant disease prevention. The prevalence of vaccine-preventable HPV type infections in cervical specimens of females aged 18-24 years decreased significantly from 29% to 7%, four years after the female vaccination program began. This will lead to a reduction in the burden of illness and death due to cervical cancer over time.37 There is already a substantial decline in genital warts amongst females under 21 years (92.6%) and aged 21-30 years (72.6%); and heterosexual males under 21 years (81.8%) and aged 21-30 years (51.1%).38 The National Immunisation Strategy 2013-18 builds on the past successes of the NIP and identifies the following eight key strategic priority areas aimed at strengthening the NIP:

  • improve immunisation coverage;
  • ensure effective governance of the NIP;
  • ensure secure vaccine supply and efficient use of vaccines for the NIP;
  • continue to enhance vaccine safety monitoring systems;
  • maintain and ensure community confidence in the NIP through effective communication strategies;
  • strengthen monitoring and evaluation of the NIP through assessment and analysis of immunisation register data and vaccine-preventable diseases surveillance;
  • ensure an adequate skilled immunisation workforce through promoting effective training for immunisation providers; and
  • maintain Australia’s strong contribution to the region.

The Department, in conjunction with states and territories, will start implementing the strategy in 2013-14.

Improve the efficiency of the National Immunisation Program

The Review of the management of adverse events associated with Panvax and Fluvax (Horvath review) was undertaken following the 2011 flu season, during which a number of children who were immunised with these vaccines experienced adverse reactions. All seven recommendations of the review have been substantially implemented. Specifically, the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Vaccines was established to advise the Department on vaccine safety and regulatory matters. An improved national system for timely reporting of adverse events was put in place, along with a National Protocol for Program Action which will operate in the event a safety signal arises from an unwanted or unexpected event following administration of a vaccine under the NIP.

In 2012-13, tender processes were completed for the supply of meningococcal C and varicella (‘chicken pox’) vaccines. These vaccines are now included in the list of vaccines that are needed for a child to be considered ‘fully immunised’ to receive Family Tax Benefit Part A. Both the meningococcal C and varicella vaccines are now provided as part of combination vaccines for young children, reducing the overall number of immunisation injections which need to be provided.

Further tender processes will be undertaken in 2013-14 for vaccines under the NIP and in accordance with the Essential Vaccine Procurement Strategy.

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Program 1.6: Public health

Program 1.6 aims to increase the health of the public through a range of targeted health programs.

Increase the evidence base for the development of targeted health programs

The Department continues to gather information through several national health surveys to ensure that health programs and policies are based on strong evidence of the health issues affecting the community.

Australian Health Survey

A series of reports with results from the 2011-13 Australian Health Survey on the general population have been released during 2012-13: first results in October 2012, health service usage and related actions in February 2013, and updated results in June 2013. Results on the physical activity component of the survey were released in July 2013 and results from the biomedical component of the survey were released in August 2013.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 90% of Australians aged two years and over did not meet the recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake in 2011-12;
  • 72% of two to four year olds, 19% of 5-17 year olds and 43% of adults met the physical activity recommendations for their age group in 2011-12;
  • Adults living in areas of greatest disadvantage were less likely to meet the physical activity recommendations (34%) compared with those living in areas of least disadvantage (52%);
  • In 2011–12, 5.1% of Australians aged 18 years and over had diabetes. This comprised 4.2% with known diabetes and 0.9% with diabetes newly diagnosed from the results of their blood tests;
  • In 2011–12, one in three Australians aged 18 years and over (32.8% or 5.6 million people) had abnormal or high total cholesterol levels according to their blood test results; and
  • People who were obese were nearly five times as likely as those who were of normal weight or underweight to have high triglycerides (25.3% compared with 5.3%) and more than twice as likely to have lower than normal levels of HDL ‘good’ cholesterol (36.2% compared with 14.1%).

Further results from the survey are available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website: www.abs.gov.au.

Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

The sixth Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) major report Adherence to Health Guidelines: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, was released in September 2012. The report covered preventative health behaviours around issues such as smoking, overweight and obesity, physical activity and diet, as well as selected health screenings such as mammography, pap smear and bowel cancer.

Among women participants in the ALSWH, adherence to guidelines on smoking, alcohol consumption and most health screens has steadily increased or has remained high since the commencement of the study. However, there are substantial differences between recommended health guidelines and actual behaviours relating to energy balance (diet, physical activity, and obesity).

Further results for the ALSWH are available from the ALSWH website at www.alswh.org.au.

Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health

As field work is still underway for the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health (ALSMH), results from this study are not yet available.

Improve child and youth health

The Department continues to work with states and territories to develop meaningful guidelines and frameworks to strengthen and improve child and youth health.

Improve men’s and women’s health

An increasing range of innovative programs – many of them lifestyle related – are contributing to the health and wellbeing of Australian men and women.

In 2012-13, the Department continued to fund activities to support men’s health. These included the National Shed Development Program and other support for Men’s Sheds, promoting Men’s Health Week and funding Andrology Australia to address men’s sexual and reproductive health needs.

The Department also continued to facilitate meetings of the Minister’s Male Health Reference Group, and to liaise with other Australian Government agencies on cross-agency issues affecting men’s health, such as employment and workplace safety.

The Department also maintained its support for women’s health activities, including the Jean Hailes Foundation and a number of new initiatives. Key among these was the Department’s support for targeted action on female genital mutilation (FGM). This included facilitating a summit, which brought together representatives across government, peak bodies and community groups. A National Compact on FGM was issued following the summit, to reinforce Australia’s position on FGM and encourage collaborative action to best support the women and girls in Australia affected by FGM and help prevent it from occurring to a new generation. The Department funded FGM grants to support further action. Grants were focused on community awareness and education, workforce training and evidence building activities to help increase understanding of FGM, improve health services and support, and help communities move towards abandoning the practice.

Promote healthy lifestyle choices

The Department continues to deliver policies which encourage healthy lifestyle choices, including healthy eating and physical activity.

Outcome 1 - Financial Resource Summary

Program (A) Budget Estimate 2012-13
$’000
(B) Actual 2012-13
$’000
Variation (Column B minus Column A)
$’000
Program 1.1: Prevention, Early Detection and Service Improvement
Administered Expenses
Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1) 92,377 93,179 802
Departmental Expenses
Departmental Appropriation1 15,109 15,125 16
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year2 461 767 306
Total for Program 1.1 107,947 109,071 1,124
Program 1.2: Communicable Disease Control
Administered Expenses
Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1) 10,653 9,628 ( 1,025)
Departmental Expenses
Departmental Appropriation1 4,962 4,810 ( 152)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year2 148 239 91
Total for Program 1.2 15,763 14,677 ( 1,086)
Program 1.3: Drug Strategy
Administered Expenses
Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1) 208,704 195,588 ( 13,116)
Departmental Expenses
Departmental Appropriation1 27,461 27,251 ( 210)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year2 833 1,385 552
Total for Program 1.3 236,998 224,224 ( 12,774)
Program 1.4: Regulatory Policy
Administered Expenses
Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1) 5,177 4,899 ( 278)
Departmental Expenses
Departmental Appropriation1, 3 17,439 17,594 155
to Special Accounts ( 11,854) ( 11,854) -
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year2 153 326 173
Special Accounts
OGTR Special Account 8,001 7,848 ( 153)
NICNAS Special Account 14,532 13,186 ( 1,346)
TGA Special Account 131,310 119,543 ( 11,767)
Expense adjustment4 ( 7,448) 3,330 10,778
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year2 - 38 38
Total for Program 1.4 157,310 154,910 ( 2,400)
Program 1.5: Immunisation
Administered Expenses
Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1) 25,259 27,101 1,842
to Australian Childhood Immunisation Register
Special Account ( 2,847) ( 3,047) ( 200)
Special appropriations
National Health Act 1953 - essential vaccines 80,278 81,157 879
Special Accounts
Australian Childhood Immunisation Register Special Account 6,457 9,174 2,717
Departmental Expenses
Departmental Appropriation1, 3 4,927 4,540 ( 387)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year2 160 224 64
Subtotal for Program 1.5 114,234 119,149 4,915
Program 1.6: Public Health
Administered Expenses
Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1) 16,009 15,902 ( 107)
Other Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 2) 15,226 14,980 ( 246)
Departmental Expenses
Departmental Appropriation1 7,616 7,631 15
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year2 231 386 155
Total for Program 1.6 39,082 38,899 ( 183)
Outcome 1 Totals by appropriation type
Administered Expenses
Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1) 358,179 346,297 ( 11,882)
to Special Accounts ( 2,847) ( 3,047) ( 200)
Other Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 2) 15,226 14,980 ( 246)
Special appropriations 80,278 81,157 879
Special Accounts 6,457 9,174 2,717
Departmental Expenses
Departmental Appropriation1 77,514 76,951 ( 563)
to Special Accounts ( 11,854) ( 11,854) -
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year2 1,986 3,327 1,341
Special Accounts 146,395 143,945 ( 2,450)
Total expenses for Outcome 1 671,334 660,930 ( 10,404)
Average Staffing Level (Number) 1,227 1,223 ( 4)
  1. Departmental appropriation combines ‘Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill 1)’ and ‘Revenue from independent sources (s31)’.
  2. ’Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year’ is made up of depreciation expense, amortisation, make good expense and audit fees. This estimate also includes approved operating losses - please refer to the departmental financial statements for further information.
  3. The budget estimate for the departmental appropriation to support the Australia and New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency has been correctly reclassified from program group 1.5 to program group 1.4. 4
  4. Special Accounts are reported on a cash basis. The adjustment reflects the difference between cash and expenses.