Better health and ageing for all Australians

Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015

Foreword

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This is the first Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers' Conference. The strategy recognises the biological, health, social, cultural, environmental and economic importance of breastfeeding. It provides a framework for priorities and action for Australian government at all levels working in partnership with the community to protect, promote, support and monitor breastfeeding throughout Australia.

In the process of developing the Strategy it was confirmed that considerable work is already occurring around Australia to protect, promote, support and monitor breastfeeding, through each level of government and in non-government organisations. It is envisaged that the implementation and governance arrangements established under this Strategy will provide further opportunities to coordinate, share and learn from these valuable efforts at the local, state/territory and national levels.

A multifaceted approach is needed to foster an environment that supports and enables mothers to breastfeed, involving not only governments but also health professionals; community, family and peer leaders; non-government organisations; employers and workplaces; child care services; as well as the manufacturers, importers and retailers of infant formula. Many of these stakeholders were consulted during the development of the Strategy. Although the Strategy does not provide immediate resolution to all the specific issues raised by stakeholders, the Strategy provides a governance mechanism and the mandate to progress these issues. Issues such as the promotion and marketing of infant formula, the regulatory framework for human milk banks and monitoring and reporting will be addressed in greater detail as implementation work progresses. Stakeholders will continue to be involved and consulted.

The launch if this Strategy comes at a time of significant health reform for Australia. Breastfeeding policies and programs are related to many aspects of the health and community services systems where changes are occurring or being considered. This provides both opportunities and challenges for implementing the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy as it complements and informs these related policies.

The implementation of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy will be progressed by governments both independently and nationally under the Australian Government. With the continued commitment of other sectors, we can create a more enabling environment and culture for breastfeeding. The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy has been developed through an extensive national process of consultation and the time, effort and advice of the many people who contributed it acknowledged and appreciated. We encourage all Australians to embrace and take forward this Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy and its vision, objectives, principles and strategic goals towards improving the health and wellbeing of infants, young children and mothers.

John Hill
Chair
Australian Health Ministers' Conference

Nicola Roxon
Minister for Health and Ageing

13 November 2009

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