Professor Mike Daube

Professor Mike Daube speaking at Parliament House to the Health Media Club lunch.

One of Australia’s top public health experts who helped lead the charge for plain packaging in tobacco has called on the Queensland Government to reconsider its approach to public health.

Speaking to the Health Media Club, Professor Mike Daube from Curtin University said that health developments in Queensland are ‘a slow-motion disaster in the making’ likely to result in worse health services and put the health of the public at risk.

In a hard-hitting address, Professor Daube discussed:

  • the ‘reorganisation mania’ that afflicts new governments – and the costs and problems these reorganisations generate
  • damage that will result from cutting health budgets
  • dangers and downsides of devolution to seventeen area services
  • downgrading of public health and approaches to public health services
  • inappropriate use/definition of ‘frontline services’ to determine which services/positions to cut
  • censorship of government-funded organisations
  • the government’s apparent initial priority of reducing controls for liquor licensing, guns and gambling rather than acting to promote health.

“The overall impression is of a government developing plans and policies on the run,” Prof Daube said. “We see no evident overall strategy, no careful reviews, no consultation, no focus on evidence-based approaches. Instead, there seem to be arbitrary decisions about funding cuts, use of meaningless terms such as ‘frontline’, instant restructures, a push to devolution that will create chaos and reduce the capacity for expert oversight in crucial public health areas, and a downgrading and reduction of vital public health activities, along with funding policies that effectively censor the non-government sector.”

“If this occurs, the health system will get worse, not better. There will be further restructures to replace the present restructure. Downgraded public health will put the health of the public at risk and important evidence-based prevention programs will not see the light of day.”

Prof Daube called on the Queensland Government to consult with key medical and health groups, and to reconsider its approaches to cutting health services and staff, and downgrading and devolving public health.

For more details, contact Jane Milburn on 0408 787 964 or
The Health Media Club is an initiative of the Queensland non-government organisations’ Swap It program.

You can read his speech transcript here.