Government delays smokefree health reform by 2 years: Greens

Smokefree diningThe Victorian Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland has accused the government of playing politics with people's health by delaying smokefree health reforms by two years.

"We know banning smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas works to reduce smoking and Victoria is the only state that has not already made it law," said Victorian Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland.

"The government’s refusal to support the Greens smokefree bill*, and now announcing their own plan, is playing politics with people's health. This political game playing has delayed this important health reform by two years."

Kilojoule labelling on fast food menu boards to be mandatory: Greens

Fast food - Honest menuesThe Victorian Greens have marked National Diabetes Week by announcing a state election commitment to implement mandatory kilojoule labelling on menu boards at all fast food outlets across the state.

Click here to sign the petition. 

“With today’s busy lifestyles we are eating more fast-food every week, but we have no idea of the energy content of the food and what it might do to our waste line or to our risk of contracting diabetes,” said Victorian Greens health spokesperson, Colleen Hartland.

Greens call for new emergency department at Footscray

The Greens are calling for redevelopment of the Footscray Emergency and Inpatient precinct following the National Health Performance Authority report found it to be the worse performing emergency department in Victoria and the second worst in Australia.

"It's a disgrace that Footscray is the worst-performing hospital in Victoria and the second worst in Australia for emergency department wait times*," said Greens MP for the Western Suburbs Colleen Hartland.

"Not only is Footscray not keeping up with demand, but the aged infrastructure is at the end of it's useable life."

"Regardless of how fantastic nurses and doctors are, the hospital infrastructure limits their ability to deliver healthcare. Some emergency consultation cubicles are too small and cannot be used, for example."

Greens accuse government of being unduly influenced on smoking reform


Today, on World No Tobacco Day, Greens MP Colleen Hartland has accused the Victorian government being unduly influenced by one of their major donors on smokefree policy.
“The Australian Hotels Association are outspoken lobbyists against banning smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas, and are also major donors to the Victorian Liberal and National parties. No other state party branch receives money from the AHA and all have banned smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas. I don't think this is coincidence,” said Victorian Greens spokesperson on health Colleen Hartland.

Public health - another victim of the harsh Federal budget cuts


Colleen Hartland - Questions the Minister on the future of National Partnership public health projects. My question is to the Minister for Health. The federal coalition government has announced that it will terminate the national partnership agreement on preventive health effective from July this year. This agreement was to provide $236 million in 2014–15 for initiatives such as community-based healthy lifestyle programs, promoting physical activity and healthy eating for children, health promotion in workplaces and much more. These programs, as the minister would know, are critical for reducing the prevalence of  chronic diseases.

Can the minister clarify how much the Victorian government stands to lose from the termination and whether the government will be digging into its surplus to fund the ongoing delivery of these critical programs?

Smoke-free Prisons - get it right, Minister

Colleen Hartland - Speech in Parliament. I rise today on behalf of the Greens to speak on the Corrections Amendment (Smoke-Free Prisons) Bill 2014. I do not think anyone in this chamber would doubt that the Greens are extremely passionate about tobacco reform. As most people here would know, smoking kills around 4000 Victorians every year. That is more than the road toll, alcohol and drugs combined. It is the greatest public health issue of our time, and a range of measures can be taken to help further reduce smoking rates. However, banning smoking in prisons would not have been at the top of my priority list. At the top of my list is banning smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas.

Violence against women with disabilities must end

Colleen Hartland - Speech in Parliament
Last week I attended the launch of the Voices Against Violence initiative. This research project has been led by Women with Disabilities Victoria in partnership with the Office for the Public Advocate and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria. It found that women with disabilities experience violence to a higher degree and for longer than women in the general population, with stereotypes of disability contributing to this preventable violence. 
The Voices Against Violence research highlights that when sex discrimination is coupled with disability discrimination, women with disabilities are at an elevated risk of violence.

Victorian Coalition fails integrity test on smokfree outdoor dining

As South Australia locks in smokefree outdoor dining from July 2016, the Victorian Greens have accused the Victorian Coalition Government of failing the integrity test by accepting massive donations from the Australian Hotels Association and being the only state in Australia that has not banned smoking in outdoor dining areas. 
“Victoria and South Australia are the only states that haven’t already implemented smoking bans in outdoor dining areas. Now South Australia has locked it in for July 2016. Victorian is out on a limb and looking dubious for failing to act,” said Victorian Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland.
“The Napthine Government has no backbone when it comes to making outdoor dining areas smokefree because it fears loosing hundreds of thousands from the Australian Hotels Association for its election slush fund.” 

West hit hardest by Coalition GP fees

Western Suburbs Greens MP Colleen Hartland has slammed the Abbott Government’s $7 GP fee as a vicious attack on public healthcare, and is deeply concerned that Melbourne’s west will be most affected.

National Health Performance Authority data shows that the South Western Melbourne Medicare Local area had the highest GP bulk-billed visits in 2012-13 at 91 per cent. This includes Hobsons Bay and Wyndham.

In north-west Melbourne (including Footscray and Sunshine), 89 per cent of patients were bulk billed – the equal third highest rate of bulk-billing in the State*.

“Melbourne’s west will be amongst the worst affected places by the Abbott Government’s new $7 GP fee,” said Colleen Hartland.

100,000 more Victorians smiling thanks to dental care

The Victorian budget has shown that the National Dental Health Reform package negotiated by The Greens has delivered a significant boost in dental care for Victorian families.
"This state budget has shown that an extra 100,000 people received dental care in 2013-14, a direct result of the additional $52 million in dental health funds," said Victorian Greens spokesperson on health Colleen Hartland.
"The dental health package has reduced the waiting times for restorative dental care by 10 months, from 23 to 13 months, and waiting times for dentures have halved to 11 months."