Department of Health and Human Services: report 2014-15

Written on the 22 October 2015

21 October 2015


Statements on reports and papers 

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)


This evening I would like to speak to the annual report 201415 from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. It is a large and comprehensive report, and I will speak to elements of it. I note that the foreword states that the department was established as of 1 January, bringing together the staff and functions of the former Department of Human Services, Department of Health, and Sport and Recreation Victoria. While I can see some benefits to that, it nevertheless remains a very large department.

I have looked through a number of areas and I cannot see how many personnel are in the department as such, but I suppose over time we will see how the department with the new amalgamation will function.

Obviously the ongoing commitments of previous governments are contained within this report. The report states what the government's intentions are. The department's responsibilities include health, ambulance services, housing, disability, ageing, mental health, families and children, youth, sport and recreation.

There are a number of areas I want to comment on with regard to the past 12 months. One concerns something that is outlined in the annual report, and that is the expansion of the 'no jab, no play' commitment, the legislation for which we will be debating in the house again tomorrow. The annual report states that:

Legislation is to be introduced to change regulations around immunisations. It will require children to be fully vaccinated in order to attend child care and kindergarten.

This creates the perception that all children will be vaccinated. However, we know that a number of exemptions will apply, and therefore the statements that have been made by the government are not in line with the reality.

There are other issues in the report that I would like to point out, including the new ban on smoking outdoors. The previous Minister for Health, Mr Davis, is in the chamber. He led a lot of those reforms, and that antismoking bill had bipartisan support. Governments of all persuasions have tried to decrease smoking rates to protect the health of Victorians and in particular to dissuade young people from taking up smoking in an attempt to prevent many of the harmful and devastating effects of smoking.

Another issue discussed in the annual report that I would like to highlight is the 20th International AIDS Conference, which was held in Melbourne last July. I believe this was the largest conference of its kind in the state.

Mr Davis In Australia.

Ms CROZIER In Australia I thank Mr Davis for that correction. That is absolutely right. As Mr Davis and I recall, that was a very sad time because it coincided with the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Sadly some of the delegates coming to the conference were lost in the bringing down of that plane.

Mr Davis Shooting down of the plane.

Ms CROZIER Shooting down of that plane, exactly right. As we speak, we are finding out what happened.

That was an extraordinary conference. It brought together some terrific initiatives from around the world to look at the progress that has been made over time with regard to AIDS and HIV. It was very rewarding to be involved as the Parliamentary Secretary for Health.

I will probably have to speak further on this report at a later time because I have just noticed that I only have 40 seconds left. There are some figures in here that are pertinent to my shadow portfolio responsibilities in relation to child protection and family services. The figure for the average number of children in out-of-home care placements in 201415 was 8043, whereas for the year previous, 201314, it was 7283. There are many other figures with regard to child protection that I will be watching very closely. The government's investment and the strategies it has put in place to further protect children need to be undertaken

The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Finn) Order! The member's time has expired.

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