C.18 Commissioner for the Environment

ACT Health is responsible for reporting against the following recommendation from the State of the Environment Report 2007–08:

Community wellbeing and safety is strengthened by ... Encouraging community health programs, particularly those aimed at exercise, healthy eating, mental wellbeing and minimising the excessive alcohol consumption.

The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Family Wellbeing Plan 2006–2011 was developed in response to the requirement of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health for each jurisdiction to develop a local implementation plan. A review of the plan was undertaken in
2012‑13 by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Forum, which includes membership from ACT Health, the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service and ACT Medicare Local. Through this process, many factors were identified as affecting its implementation, most significantly the Closing the Gap Indigenous reform agenda, which was introduced halfway through implementation of the plan in 2008.

Development of a new ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan commenced in 2013. The new plan will incorporate learnings from the review of the previous plan and outstanding action items which have been identified as ongoing strategies requiring implementation by the Health Forum. These areas relate to, but are not limited to, early intervention, health promotion, service provision, workforce planning, local research, reporting and leadership. Please refer to C.21, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reporting, for further details.

Beyond Today—it’s up to you, a smoking cessation and healthy lifestyle social marketing strategy targeting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of the ACT and surrounding region, was launched in December 2012. The campaign is the culmination of a significant engagement process with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The campaign features local members of the community telling stories across a range of materials, including posters, banners, a brochure, short videos and songs created locally and performed by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Progress continues in the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alcohol and Other Drug Residential Rehabilitation Service (Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm). This service will seek to improve health outcomes by addressing the complex issues that relate to drug and alcohol abuse. The service will provide culturally appropriate prevention, education, rehabilitation and outreach programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 18 years and over. Work is occurring to finalise the pre-tender cost estimate, construction program and governance arrangements for the service. Please refer to C.21, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reporting, for further details.

  • ACT Health has initiated a number of measures to improve community health in line with the commissioner’s second recommendation relating to health promotion and care services. These include:
  • the launch of Beyond Today—it’s up to you
  • promotion of tap water as the drink of choice to the ACT community, including lending portable ‘Tap into water every day’ water-dispensing units to community events, and working in partnership with the ACT Education Directorate to trial fixed water units in schools
  • the Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service®, a free information and telephone-based health service to assist adults to identify and reach their health goals
  • local support for the Australian Government’s Swap It, Don’t Stop It social marketing campaign, which encourages people to make sustainable, incremental changes in their lifestyle choices
  • funding for a wide range of community-based health promotion activities through the ACT Health Promotion Grants program
  • Kids at Play Active Play and the Eating Well Early Childhood project, which provides organisations responsible for early childhood services with support to promote healthy childhood habits
  • SmartStart for Kids Program, funded to screen children for health risk factors and provide a school-based program for higher-risk child care
  • the Healthy Food at Schools project, including support for schools to implement National Healthy Schools Canteen Guidelines in partnership with Nutrition Australia
  • the Healthy Food at Children’s Sports project, in partnership with Sport and Recreation and local sporting organisations
  • the Active Travel to Schools project
  • funding of the Heart Foundation’s Active Living agenda—Heart Foundation Walking and the Heartmoves program
  • ongoing implementation of the Australian Government’s Healthy Communities Initiative
  • implementation of a variety of workplace health promotion activities, including ACT Health Smoke-Free Workplace policy, and the development and piloting of a number of resources to support workplace health and wellbeing programs
  • My Health—the Health Directorate’s staff health and wellbeing program.