I am pleased to announce that at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Perth today, the Tasmanian Government has been successful in putting preventive approaches to maternal and child health onto the national agenda.

At the meeting, I tabled a paper proposing a nationally integrated strategy be developed to better address and manage ante-natal health risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

We know that such risk factors can have serious negative impacts for the health of both mothers and babies and that we have high rates of these risk factors in Tasmania, particularly when it comes to smoking amongst young pregnant women.

It is clear that we need to be doing all we can to encourage healthy practices during pregnancy. This supports our commitment to improving the health of the Tasmanian community and in particular, our focus on reducing youth smoking rates.

In conjunction, Queensland tabled a paper on the future of the National Maternity Services Plan, which expired at the end of 2015. After constructive debate, it was decided to incorporate targeting ante-natal risk factors as a key component of this broader piece of work.

This will ensure preventive approaches and an ‘anticipatory care’ approach is part of the everyday care delivered to mothers and babies and that it is specifically considered in mainstream maternity services planning.

Ministers agreed to task AHMAC through the Community Care, Population Health Principal Committee (CCPHPC) to develop an enduring maternity policy position to present to the COAG Health Council for further consideration in late 2016. This includes neonatal and child health services, antenatal health risk factors and screening for family violence.

I am very pleased at this outcome and look forward to the benefits that will flow from this work to mothers and babies within our community and across the country.

I also provided other Ministers with a briefing on the Tasmanian Government’s proposal to raise the Minimum Legal Smoking Age above 18, to 21 or 25. The briefing outlined the evidence base and how the concept would work if it was pursued further, and committed to keep other jurisdictions informed on the matter.

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to focusing on preventative health measures, which is why we are developing a Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan.

Subscribe to my newsletter

Get the latest news direct from Michael.

Thanks for subscribing