Media Statement: ESSA Releases 2019 Federal Election Priorities

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) today has released its Federal Election Priorities which calls on all candidates for the upcoming election to support these policies to ensure all Australians are provided with better access to exercise professionals.

“We are focusing on four clear policies, four key areas that will help enrich the health and well-being of all Australians,” says Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA CEO.

The four policy priorities are:

  1. Provide better access to exercise physiology by removing GST from exercise physiology.
  2. Provide better access to exercise physiology for people with chronic disease through Medicare.
  3. Provide better access to exercise physiology for people with disabilities through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 
  4. Provide better access to exercise physiology and exercise science for at risk populations by developing a national physical activity strategy.

“As a nation, our major focus has been on treating disease rather than preventing it before costly medical care is needed. In 2012-2013, $5 billion was spent on cardiovascular disease in hospitals, and in 2010, $14.6 billion was spent on diabetes.”

“On the other hand, chronic disease prevention accounts for about $2 billion in expenditure each year, or $89 per person. This is 1.34% of all health spending with most of the balance spent on treating disease and injuries after they occur.”

“Early intervention in respect to chronic disease pays dividends. For example, with an illness such as heart disease, if caught early, it can mean the difference between short-term treatment and prolonged health problems,” explains Ms. Hobson-Powell.

Many preventive health interventions are cost-effective. Some promote health and reduce costs overall because of the reduced need to treat expensive diseases. Others allow Australians to live longer and better quality lives and come at a reasonable cost to the health system.

The value of exercise in preventing and managing a range of chronic diseases and maintaining and enhancing quality of life is well evidenced by research.

In residential aged care, incorporating an exercise program is an effective means to preserve independence levels by maintaining or improving the ability to perform activities of daily living.

Within the disability sector, exercise programmes designed to increase cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and mobility provide benefits that enhance lifestyle activity and quality of life while reducing risk of secondary disorders for many disabilities including autism and multiple sclerosis.

Physical activity and exercise are not only an effective part of treatment for people with a mental illness alongside standard care but can also help protect against future episodes of mental illness.

“Moving forward, promoting a culture of health through exercise (rather a culture of ill-health through treating disease) can help prevent or delay some of the chronic conditions that lead to high health costs and early death and ensure Australians can live their lives to the fullest,” says Ms. Hobson-Powell.

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For more information:
Zoe Bickerstaffe
ESSA Marketing and Communication Manager
E: [email protected] 
P: 07 3171 3335