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Question without notice - Healthy Tasmania Strategic Plans

Wednesday 22 September 2021


[2.55 p.m.]

Regarding the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan which is due to expire this year can the Deputy Leader please advise:

(1) When the next strategic plan is due to be released?

(2) Whether, per the existing plan's targets, the Tasmanian smoking rate was reduced to 10 per cent in 2020?

(3) Whether, per the existing plan's targets for people under 25, the gap between the Tasmanian and national youth smoking rates were halved?

(4) If targets to reduce youth smoking rates are not met within the time frames designated by the Healthy Tasmania strategic plan, what courses of action the Government might pursue to reduce them? Can the Government rule out a similar policy to the T21 bill?

(5) In a media release from 27 August 2021, the Health minister indicated that the new strategic plan would focus on initiatives that included 'limiting harmful alcohol use'. Can the Leader please advise what type of initiatives are under consideration?


Thank you very much for your question, member.

(1) The Government will launch the next Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan by November this year.

(2) The first Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan released in 2016 stated 18.9 per cent of Tasmanians smoke (smoking prevalence). The 2017‑18 NHS shows smoking prevalence declined to 17.6 per cent of Tasmanians identifying as current smokers. The results of the 2020‑21 NHS are yet to be released.

(3) When the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan was launched, the Australian Secondary Students' Alcohol and Drug survey showed 6 per cent of 12- to 17‑year‑old Tasmanian school students smoked, compared to 5 per cent Australia wide. The NHS showed that 24.5 per cent of Tasmanians aged 18 to 24 years of age identified as current smokers, compared to 16.7 per cent Australia wide. More recent data from these surveys have shown a decline in smoking prevalence among Tasmanians. That is, 5 per cent of 12- to 17-year-old school students smoked, compared to 5 per cent Australia wide (2017 ASSAD). And 22.6 per cent of 18- to 24-year‑olds smoked, compared to 16.3 per cent Australia wide (NHS 2017‑18). The 2020 ASSAD survey has been delayed and the 2020‑21 NHS is also yet to be released.

(4) The Government has committed to a Youth Smoking Prevention Package to reduce uptake of smoking among young Tasmanians and support those that do smoke to quit. A total of $1 million over four years has been committed to this initiative. Other actions will be considered as part of the development of the next Tasmanian Tobacco Control Plan. This plan will be informed by the knowledge gained from the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan, current Tobacco Control Plan 2017 to 2021 and the Smoke Free Young People Strategy 2019 to 2021. Recent focus groups with young Tasmanians, current stakeholder consultation and current literature reviews are ensuring the right strategies will be prioritised to support young people to be smoke‑free. We are also continuing our strong partnership with the University of Tasmania to address gaps in local evidence.

(5) The Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing issued a media release on 27 August 2021 on our next plan, Healthy Tasmania, the Next Five Years. In regard to the member's question on limiting harmful alcohol use, the Government is committed to working together to create a Tasmania where people can make healthy choices around alcohol use, through incentives that include but are not limited to: providing funding to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) Good Sports program; developing and implementing a Tasmanian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) action plan in response to and aligned with the national FASD strategic action plan; providing ongoing funding to the Drug Education Network (DEN) in Tasmania. The DEN provide information, resources, education and training to service providers and the wider community on alcohol and other drugs; implementing the 10-year Reform Agenda for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Sector in Tasmania, which aims to ensure Tasmanians affected by alcohol and other drug use can access appropriate, timely, effective and quality alcohol, tobacco and other drug services, supports and treatments. While not directly linked to Healthy Tasmania, the reform agenda contains actions related to promotion, prevention and early intervention initiatives for alcohol and other drugs; promotion of the NHMRC guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, to support informed decisions about alcohol consumption and promote better public understanding of alcohol-related harms; and build the capacity of local community stakeholders to identify and respond to prevent harm from alcohol.

Ms Armitage - While you are still on your feet, through you, Mr President, could you just go back to number 4? Just the question, can the Government rule out a similar policy to the T21 bill?

Ms PALMER - The answer to that specifically is not included in this answer. Would you like me to have that resubmitted?

Ms Armitage - Thank you, I would.


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