Health and Wellbeing Queensland Symposia 2022
Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics Infrastructure, the Honourable Dr Steven Miles; Members of Parliament; Mayor of Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council and Chair of Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance, Councillor Robbie Sands; Health and Wellbeing Queensland Chair, Mr Steve Ryan and Chief Executive, Dr Robyn Littlewood; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you to the Nunukul Yuggera Jarjums performers. I too, would like to acknowledge the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respect to Elders, past, present, and emerging. I extend that respect to all First Nations people here with us today.
As Governor and Patron of Health and Wellbeing Queensland, I am pleased to be addressing this symposium.
During my long career as a health professional, I watched with growing concern as obesity rates grew into the intractable problem we face today.
And it seems we have not yet managed to turn the tide on obesity at a local or global level.
It affects a majority of Queensland adults. I’ll put that another way, for emphasis: more adults in this State are overweight than are a healthy weight.
Obviously, something’s terribly amiss when Queenslanders are prevented from living their healthiest, most productive lives.
As the State’s Chief Health Officer in 2015, I was among those advocating for a new weapon to tackle the scourge of obesity in our communities.
We didn’t want to just reduce obesity rates, we wanted to do it in a way that was sustainable, by helping communities to help themselves.
We wanted to provide leadership and inspiration for other states and nations.
Queensland was to be the global leader in obesity prevention. Period.
This vision drove the creation of a dedicated public health agency to focus on prevention, public health and policy.
With a mixture of great pride and some relief, I can say that my involvement in the establishment of Health and Wellbeing Queensland is one of the most rewarding achievements of my career.
Health and Wellbeing Queensland has a clear remit – to reduce rates of obesity and chronic disease, and to lower the health inequities in our system.
We are helping Queenslanders find their way to fitter, healthier lifestyles and setting up younger generations to succeed, no matter where they live in the State.
Since its establishment 1 July 2019, Health and Wellbeing Queensland has worked tirelessly to drive change in communities that need it most.
To support First Nations communities, they are developing a remote food security strategy for remote Far North areas, in partnership with community leaders.
Programs such as Deadly Choices and 10,000 Steps have reached more than 233,000 people in the last financial year alone, while the Pick of the Crop healthy eating program has reached an impressive 15,000 students.
To support the health system and reduce hospitalisations, Health and Wellbeing Queensland has invested in developing a new hub model for healthcare.
One such program aims at tackling high rates of Type 2 diabetes in Logan, to ultimately ease pressure on the Logan Hospital.
There could not be a more exciting time to be part of improving health outcomes for Queenslanders, as our State prepares to host the 2032 Olympic Games.
This event presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a generational health shift that will benefit us all.
I’m confident that with Health and Wellbeing Queensland leading the way, together we will turn the tide on obesity and create a blueprint for how it’s done.