SICKLY STATE OF HEALTH

Re­port calls for smarter man­age­ment of econ­omy

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - CAMERON WHITE­LEY

THE poor health of Tas­ma­ni­ans is a “hand­brake” on the state’s econ­omy, the lat­est Tas­ma­nia Re­port has re­vealed.

The find­ing is one of seven key is­sues iden­ti­fied for state lead­ers to address in or­der to “close the gap” and to bet­ter ben­e­fit from Tas­ma­nia’s best eco­nomic po­si­tion in 15 years.

THE rel­a­tive poor health of Tas­ma­ni­ans is a “hand­brake” on the state’s econ­omy and a greater fo­cus is needed on fund­ing pre­ven­tive mea­sures, a new re­port has found.

The fifth it­er­a­tion of the Tas­ma­nia Re­port, to be re­leased to­day, said while ef­fi­ciently treat­ing the sick was im­por­tant, so was keep­ing them out of the sys­tem in the first place.

The re­port, ini­ti­ated by the Tas­ma­nian Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, said de­spite the state spend­ing a sim­i­lar amount on the sec­tor per capita as other states, health out­comes were poor com­pared to the rest of the coun­try.

TCCI chair­woman Su­san Parr said as Tas­ma­nia ex­pe­ri­enced its best eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion for 15 years, lead­ers must com­mit to strate­gic plans to im­prove out­comes in ar­eas like health and ed­u­ca­tion.

She said medi­ocrity was not the fu­ture Tas­ma­ni­ans de­served.

“Tas­ma­ni­ans are the un­health­i­est, old­est, worst ed­u­cated, most un­der­em­ployed and most de­pen­dent on gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits in Aus­tralia,’’ she said.

“The flow-on ef­fects mean in­creas­ing health costs, more people who feel alien­ated from so­ci­ety, and who in turn, have no stake in de­vel­op­ing com­mu­ni­ties.”

The re­port found: IN­CREASED spend­ing in health — now al­most a third of the state’s to­tal bud­get and pre­dicted to rise fur­ther — had not been matched by im­prove­ments in health out­comes.

TAS­MA­NIA’S econ­omy was the fastest grow­ing in the coun­try, but was not trans­lat­ing to sig­nif­i­cant jobs growth.

THE SUCCESS of the econ­omy and ris­ing pop­u­la­tion had cre­ated hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity is­sues.

A FO­CUS on en­sur­ing stu­dent re­ten­tion to Year 12 or equiv­a­lent stud­ies was work­ing, but bet­ter long-term part­ner­ships be­tween in­dus­try and train­ing providers were needed to address skills short­ages.

A RE­DUC­TION in the num­ber of coun­cils was needed.

STATE pop­u­la­tion growth had been driven by in­ter­na­tional mi­gra­tion, but was be­low the na­tional av­er­age and was tipped to de­cline. There was a need to at­tract younger, skilled people.

Tas­ma­nian Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vice chief ex­ec­u­tive Kym Goodes said a strong econ­omy was some­thing to be proud of, but said it needed to be used to set the state up for the fu­ture.

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