Good Start Program

02 June 2015

Dr CHALMERS (Rankin) (13:48):  In my electorate there is a truly remarkable group of people who run the Good Start Program. The program chases a simple but important goal: to improve the health and wellbeing of Pacific Islander and Maori children and their families by teaching good exercise and nutritional habits or, in their words, 'To bring health back to our people.' I have spent a bit of time in the past year or two with Mary Bartlett Johnston and her team, and I have seen for myself the difference they are making to our community and communities like ours around the state. One of the many great things about the program is the way they work to recruit health workers from the target communities so that it is all culturally tailored.

When the Abbott government cut billions of dollars out of preventative health last budget, and left those cuts in this budget, the program was in dire straits. This is the sort of short-sighted health policy we now expect from those opposite. Labor has a different approach to preventative health. In that context, I want to congratulate the Queensland health minister and member for Woodridge, Cameron Dick, for stepping in and funding the program for three more years. Had he not done so, their great work might not go on. Cameron's announcement means healthier brothers and sisters from the Maori and Pacific Islander communities and it means Good Start can continue their amazing work.