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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Greens call for Federal Mental Health Minister

Posted by Steve on July 1, 2010

Mental Health for all Australians

The Australian Greens have congratulated the Coalition for putting mental health back on the national agenda and are calling for their $1.5 billion policy announcement to be implemented through the appointment of a dedicated Mental Health Minister.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, says the Greens would work with an Abbott Government to implement their mental health policy if elected, and would extend the same offer to the ALP.

“The Greens and Coalition have mental health policies on the table for all to see, while the ALP lags even further behind on the issue,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Health Minister Nicola Roxon are now obligated to explain how a re-elected ALP Government would cater for the growing needs of Australia’s mental health sector.

“This Government has failed to improve Australia’s mental health services, while the Australian Greens have consistently put forward a number of full funded key initiatives which would see this occur,” Senator Siewert concluded.

Greens push for universal dental care

Posted by Steve on May 23, 2010

Affordable dental care

Dental care for all Australians

The Australian Greens will push for a national, universal public dental care scheme in the lead up to the federal election.

Around half a million Australians are already on waiting lists for urgent dental care, with a national average waiting period of over two years.

“Dental health is essential to good physical health and emotional well-being and it makes no sense for it to be excluded from our public health system,” said Australian Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

“The Greens will continue to campaign for a universal dental care scheme, operating as part of Medicare as a key priority in the lead up to and beyond the federal election.

“Current public dental services are struggling to treat almost half Australia’s population with less than 10% of the dentists.

“The Menzies Centre for Health Policy estimates that oral disease costs the Australian economy around $2 billion in direct costs and lost productivity.”

Happy World Toilet Day!

Posted by Steve on November 19, 2009

Sanitation-and-HealthThe Australian Greens say World Toilet Day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of world-wide sanitation.

“It is shocking that 2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation. This risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, most of which are children, every year,” said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

“Today is World Toilet Day, which some think is funny, but the number of deaths and suffering as a result of poor sanitation is a sobering reminder that more is needed to reduce suffering around the world.”

“Lack of proper sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of malnutrition and infection, causing diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and worm infections that kill 5,000 children each day.”

“Clean toilets contribute to poverty eradication by protection one’s health and ability to work. Safe collection and treatment of human waste and other various wastewaters protects drinking water sources and eco-systems, creating clean and healthy living environments, particularly in urban areas,” said Senator Siewert.

“Australia’s contribution to sanitation projects in the developing world should be increased. By next year it is expected to increase to $250m, however, this is still below our fair share – Australia’s calculated fair share to sanitation in the Millennium Development Goals is estimated to be $350m.”

“The current sanitation problem in Timor-Leste illustrates this point. Diarrhoea is a leading cause of under-five child deaths in Timor-Leste, accounting for 22% of the total 5,000 children that die every year. Access to sanitation in Timor-Leste is estimated at 41% and the country is perilously short of meeting the MDG target for sanitation. The sanitation improvements that will dramatically improve child mortality and general community health in Timor-Leste are relatively cheap and easily implemented.”

The Senate yesterday passed a Greens motion recognising the importance of World Toilet Day, and calling on the government to invest in foreign aid projects aimed at improving sanitation levels.

“The Senate has backed my calls for the Australian Government to play a constructive, proactive role at the upcoming Global Framework for Action on Water and Sanitation meeting in Washington April 2010. This is the opportunity for global support of sanitation policy leadership,” concluded Senator Siewert.

Greens rally in support of midwives

Posted by Steve on November 9, 2009

The Australian Greens have put their support behind rallies being held around Australia today in support of the rights of Australian midwives.

The Greens support the rights of women to choose safe homebirths with the assistance of a midwife and have been working to strengthen the government’s midwives legislation.

But the government’s amendment to their bill, to be debated next week, requires midwives to work at all times in formal collaborative arrangements with doctors as a condition of insurance. Doctors will be able to veto these arrangements effectively giving the medical profession the ability to control which midwives can be insured and register.

“We find this completely unacceptable as it may erode rather than expand choices as doctors make decisions about what types of care to support,” Australian Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The Greens are deeply concerned about this amendment as it undermines the role of midwives and the capacity for women to choose a home birth. We are currently consulting widely around options for amendments to this legislation.

“We will continue to fight for greater choice and less interventionist maternity care and support the Australian Private Midwives Association’s call for the government to make sure options for choice are not lost in the process of this reform,” Senator Siewert said.

Read Australian College of Midwives media release here.

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