The Liberal Government will today launch the first National Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People 2020-2030 which will improve children and young people’s health by focusing on healthy upbringing, prevention, addressing risky behaviours and childhood mental health.

The Government will provide $4 million to support the implementation of this action plan on top of our significant investment for the health of children and young people in the last twelve months.

The National Action Plan has been produced and endorsed by a broad group of stakeholders as a roadmap for enhancing the collective health and wellbeing of Australia’s children and young people.

The Government recognises many chronic health problems in adulthood, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and mental health issues, begin in early childhood.

This action plan identifies the steps needed so our children and young people have the best start in life.

The plan will be delivered in partnership with all levels of government as well as health professionals, parents and carers, and young people.

It has a particular focus on young indigenous Australians, LGBTI+ young people and those experiencing difficult socioeconomic circumstances in rural and remote regions.

The strategy will:

  • Improve health equity across populations
  • Empower parents to maximise healthy development
  • Tackle mental health and risky behaviours
  • Address chronic conditions and preventive health
  • Strengthen the health workforce.
  • To support the implementation of the action plan first I am pleased to also announce today that our Government will provide:

  • $1 million over three years to the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) to support the roll of their Youth Health Forum. The Youth Health Forum provides a platform for young health consumer leaders to advocate effectively and where governments, health services, the community sector, and academics can consult and work with young people to determine fit-for-purpose policy, health programs and health services.
  • $1 million to the Reclink National Program - Reclink Australia provides evidence-based sport and art programs to disadvantaged Australians to create socially inclusive, life-changing opportunities. Reclink Australia's programs create pathways to improved health and wellbeing, education and employment outcomes for all participants.
  • $1.5 million over 4 years in contestable grants to support programs focussing on:
  • strategies that target risky behaviours
  • resilience and social and emotional coping skills
  • support for positive parental mental health
  • preventive health strategies that address nutrition, physical activity, overweight and obesity, and sleep hygiene
  • placed-based and co-design initiatives
  • $500,000 to support the up-skilling of health professionals and the development and dissemination of accessible and culturally appropriate health information materials focusing on:
  • resilience and social and emotional coping skills
  • positive parental mental health
  • the importance of preventive mechanisms for optimal health (diet, physical activity, sleep hygiene etc)
  • The Government’s support and investment in childhood health is an investment in the nation’s future.

    Today’s announcements add to the Liberal National Government’s investment in the health of children and young people, including key priority areas from the strategy.

    Vaccination:

  • $12 million over the next three years to extend the reach of the childhood immunisation education campaign. Australia’s National Immunisation Program saves lives by protecting children from serious disease.
  • $52 million to protect Australian teenagers against meningococcal ACWY, with the launch of a new free national program for 14 to 19 year olds from 1 April 2019.
  • $39.5 million for the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine to every pregnant woman in the country, protecting both baby and mother from this life-threatening disease
  • Our No Jab, No Pay policy led to 210,000 extra children being vaccinated in its first year and the immunisation rate for children 5 years of age is now at 94.67%, the highest on record
  • Investment in research and treatment for childhood illness:

  • $100 million for the Comprehensive Children's Cancer Centre in Sydney
  • $20 million for medical research into congenital heart disease with an additional $6 million to help implement the recommendations of the National Strategic Action Plan for Childhood Heart Disease
  • $20 million in last year’s budget for pre-conception screening trials for rare and debilitating birth disorders including Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Fragile X and Cystic Fibrosis. This is the first genomics project under the $500 million Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission announced in last year’s budget.
  • Ground-breaking new treatments for devastating childhood conditions are now available have been made available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Life Saving Drugs Program, including:

  • The life changing medicine Spinraza has been listed on the PBS to treat the devastating inherited condition Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Without subsidy patients would pay more than $367,850 per year.
  • The breakthrough medicine Orkambi, has been listed on the PBS for cystic fibrosis. Without subsidy patients would pay $250,000 per year.
  • The lifesaving new medicine Brineura has been listed on the Life Saving Drugs Program (LSDP) to treat Batten disease – a rare genetic disease in children - without subsidy this would cost over $850,000 per year
  • Kymriah (CAR-T therapy) for treating children and young adults with an aggressive blood cancer which is being made available in public hospitals. This treatment was only available overseas at a cost of over $500,000 per treatment.
  • We are also investing $503.1 million in the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan which is the largest suicide prevention plan in Australia’s history and focuses on expanding the headspace network, Indigenous suicide prevention and early childhood and parenting.

    We are also investing over $1 billion over three years for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), including extending the payment of benefits for eligible dental services provided in the public sector. The CDBS provides eligible children aged between 2 and 17 years access to $1,000 of dental services over a two year period.