THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP
Minister for Health and Ageing
THE HON JENNY MACKLIN MP
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
31 May 2011
On World No Tobacco Day, Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, announced a new partnership which will see 70 accommodation facilities managed by Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL) move to stamp out smoking.
The Australian Government is also investing a further $1.1 million funding to extend the successful ‘Break the Chain’ national Indigenous anti-smoking campaign.
Joining Tom Calma, the National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking at Parliament House in Canberra, Mr Snowdon said World No Tobacco Day was an appropriate time to reflect on the harm caused by smoking.
“Smoking causes disproportionate harm to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with smoking responsible for every one in five deaths.
“The Australian Government is not going to stand back when death and disease caused by smoking can be prevented and that’s why we’re continuing this world leading action to combat tobacco use.”
Mr Snowdon said Aboriginal Hostels Limited will help spread anti-smoking messages nationwide to around 2,000 Indigenous Australians every night. Aboriginal Hostels Limited is an Australian Government company which provides temporary accommodation to help Indigenous Australian access education, employment and health services.
“This partnership will take this anti-smoking campaign into Aboriginal Hostels in every state and Territory of Australia. This will ensure their facilities are smoke free apart from designated smoking areas and ensure health education and promotion activities are conducted by AHL staff to prevent, reduce and quit smoking.”
Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon said the additional $1.1m investment in the‘Break the Chain’ anti-smoking campaign follows strong support from local communities.
“We recently launched a national first, the ‘Break the Chain’ campaign on TV, radio and in print, urging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to break the chain and quit smoking. This funding will expand the media buy to increase audience reach and repeat exposure.”
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the harsh reality is that almost half Indigenous Australians smoke, compared with less than 20 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians.
“We have made a commitment to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. We have also committed to a target of halving Indigenous smoking rates by 2018.”
The Australian Government is investing $100.6 million to roll out a national workforce of Regional Tobacco Coordinators and Tobacco Action Workers to run local smoking prevention and quit campaigns with Indigenous communities. Already these teams have been established in 20 regional areas around Australia, with a further 37 to be rolled out over the next two years.
World No Tobacco Day was created in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and its lethal effects, and is celebrated by the World Health Organization on 31 May each year. The event is used to highlight risks associated with smoking, and to advocate the development of effective policies to reduce consumption.
For more information on AHL go to www.ahl.gov.au/
Media contact: Alice Plate 0400 045 999