The Hodgman Liberal Government came to office with a goal for Tasmania to be the healthiest population in the country by 2025. Today, I am pleased to launch the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan, the centrepiece of our strategy to reach that goal.

The plan contains 24 actions primarily targeting smoking and obesity. These actions will be directed at Tasmanians across their life span, from birth to older age.

This is the next step forward in our work to overhaul our health system from end to end, complementing our other major policy reforms such as our White Paper on Delivering Safe and Sustainable Clinical Services and the Rethink Mental Health Plan.

The plan highlights an investment of an additional $6.4 million, which comes on top of the more than $70 million we already spend for preventative health programs.

Reducing smoking remains a priority.

As part of our bold plan we will invest $1.8 million over four years to increase smoking control, education and targeted interventions.

We will triple the cost of the Tobacco Seller’s Licence fee and focus more quit smoking advertising at point of sale and toward pregnant women who smoke.

We will also match the highest penalties in the nation for those supplying tobacco products to children – currently set at $18,120 – whether supply is retail or in the community.

The government has set a bold target to reduce the number of Tasmanians smoking to 10 per cent by 2020, and down to five per cent by 2025.

Our target is to see the gap between state and national youth smoking rates halved (for under 25s) by 2020 and reducing the rates to below the national average by 2025.

A major element is The Healthy Tasmanian Communities Innovation Pool grants program which will see the delivery of $1 million in grants for individuals and community groups to apply for, to improve health and well-being in their local area.

Unlike previous governments, the Liberal Government believes that community ownership is crucial to success. This is why engagement with local grassroots communities is part of the plan to see the Healthy Tasmania plan succeed.

The grants program will be focused on communities which currently have poorer outcomes.

We want people to tell us what is important for them and to lead change through creative grassroots innovation, while fostering community relationships at the same time.

The largest investment we are making is to provide $3.5 million to support and incentivise communities and individuals to make positive health changes in their life through better nutrition and more physical activity.

A key focus of this will be children and students, with schools set to be supported through the Student Health Initiative. Through this, $2 million will be spent over four years on ensuring our youngest citizens learn healthy habits which will put them on a trajectory for a longer, healthier life.

This initiative will help us achieve generational change.

The Healthy Tasmania plan is the basis for how we can all work together to achieve better health and I look forward to engaging with the community as we go forward.

To view the full report visit here

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