|Posted on May 28, 2019 at 3:00 AM|
As we digest the results of the Federal election the Social Determinants of Health Alliance (SDOHA) vows to maintain its commitment to working towards a healthy Australia for everyone.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison in his victory speech pledged that he would work on policies that ‘will keep Australians together’. With demonisation of people on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexuality and income level all too common in the election campaign, and recent years, SDOHA urges the Prime Minister to deliver on this commitment.
We know that the biggest drivers of health outcomes are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and play. Investing in them is good for society, for the economy and for people’s physical and mental health.
Reducing poverty, addressing racism, stigma and discrimination, ensuring secure and affordable housing for everyone, ensuring health care is accessible to everyone, acting on climate change and improving education and employment will create the environment that promotes good health and reduces health inequities. Regrettably, none of these policies featured in the Government election platform.
SDOHA recognises that the election result means we need to redouble our efforts to achieve a healthy, equitable and compassionate Australia.
Some positive gains have come out of the campaigning and efforts of many individuals and organisations in the lead up the election, and over many years. The urgent need for an increase in the Newstart Allowance now has majority public support. The majority of voters want more action on climate change. And the connections between climate change and health are much better understood.
We also know that many more understand the fundamental importance of the social determinants of health. A number of health bodies spoke of them in their campaigning, and the social services sector knows that health is inseparable from other aspects of individual and community wellbeing.
But there is no denying that the election of the Morrison government means there is much work for us to do to safeguard everyone’s wellbeing– particularly those experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation – our communities, and the very land we live on.
The Social Determinants of Health Alliance is determined to prosecute the need for action on key issues fundamental to improving the health and wellbeing of all Australians, particularly those on low income.
Climate change is threatening people’s homes, livelihoods, health and cost of living. It disproportionately impacts on people experiencing disadvantage who have less money, choice and power to adapt in response.
Self-determination is fundamental to good health and wellbeing. Until there is a meaningful response to the Uluru statement, including a treaty, the health of First Nations peoples will continue to lag that of the rest of the country.
Raising the rate of the Newstart Allowance is a first essential step to reduce poverty. We know that those on the lowest incomes not only struggle to make ends meet but also have the poorest health. We will not improve the health of all Australians until we raise the incomes of the poorest.
The stable, affordable housing so essential to good health is out of reach for an increasing number of Australians. Real plans to increase the supply of affordable housing, and to reduce homelessness, are needed as a matter of urgency to ensure that everyone has a safe roof over their head.
The Morrison government has made much of its plan to reduce taxes, including for those on higher incomes. This poses a serious risk to our revenue base well in to the future. Funding for the essential services the community relies on – health care, schools, child care, aged care and disability services – will suffer in the future, and health inequities will worsen.
The Social Determinants of Health Alliance calls on the Morrison Government to work collaboratively with all sectors of the community to address these matters to ensure Australia is healthy and inclusive for everyone.