Launch and release of biennial report on Australia’s health, 10.00 am 25 June 1998

The AIHW's sixth biennial report on Australia's health and health services, Australia's health 1998, will be launched by the Minister for Health and Family Services, Dr Michael Wooldridge, at the NATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE, CONSTITUTION AVENUE, CANBERRA ON THURSDAY 25 JUNE 1998 AT 10 AM.

The launch is being held as part of an all-day conference on Australia's health. Media representatives are invited to attend both functions. A press kit will be available at the National Convention Centre and report authors will be available for interview.

The document will be tabled in Parliament and 'boxed' at the Parliament House press gallery on the same day. (Release under embargo prior to the tabling date is not permitted.)

Australia's health 1998 is the nation's most authoritative source of information on patterns of health and illness, the supply and use of health services, and their cost and performance.

The report shows that in spite of continuing public debates on health funding and hospital funding and services in particular, Australia is one of the healthiest countries in the world-and Australians are becoming even healthier. This is shown by increasing life expectancy, a low rate of life-threatening infectious diseases and, for most people, ready access to health care when needed.

The report shows, however, that there is room for improvement in a number of areas. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health remains poor by any standard, and the health status of people living in rural and remote areas is significantly lower than for city-dwellers.

In addition, available data show that we are still a nation of 'Norms'-the incidence of obesity and overweight continues to rise, while Australians have shown little desire to increase their generally low levels of physical activity.

A three-page selection of facts from the 350-page report is attached.

25 June 1998

Further information: Geoff Sims, Head, Health Division, tel. 02 6244 1168, mob. 0419 239 582.

For general media enquiries: Nigel Harding, Head, Communication and Public Affairs, tel. 02 6244 1025 (w) or 02 6282 0639 (h), mob. 014 688 834

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 61 2 6244 1032.