Past, present and the evolving future of public health and health promotion: Reflections on dismantling in Queensland Australia

Baker, Philip R.A. (2014) Past, present and the evolving future of public health and health promotion: Reflections on dismantling in Queensland Australia. In 46th Asia Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health, 16-19 October 2014, Kual Lumpur, Malayia. (Unpublished)



For more than ten years the public health and health promotion workforce in the Australian state of Queensland grew dramatically. This growth was most pronounced in the disciplines of Health Promotion and in Public Health Nutrition, both regionally and corporately. In 2012 political change led to an abrupt dismantling of its public and preventive health services across the state. Individual responsibility was declared.


This presentation provides a qualitative narrative description of past achievements and activities, the current situation and provides a perspective towards the future.


Government reports over several years described the growing burden of chronic disease arising from conditions such as obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition in Queensland. By 2008, obesity had overtaken smoking as the single greatest risk factor to the health of Queenslanders. In 2010, the Chief Health Officer called for an increased focus on prevention to address the continuing need for more beds in hospitals. However, with political change in 2012 resulted in the dismantling and dismissal of preventive health services across the state. The following year, despite outcry, sexual health services were also axed. At present, outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles are occurring. The epidemics of chronic disease, obesity and physical inactivity continue to grow.


The evolution of public health is not necessarily progressive, but cyclic. Challenges include political change, health practice and the interplay of health policy. A lack of an embedded emphasis on systematic review translation is one potential contributor. Perhaps the warning of Lang & Rayner should be heeded: “public health proponents have allowed themselves to be corralled into the narrow language of individualism and choice”.

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ID Code: 82724
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: health policy, evidence based practice, health failure, Queensland
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author
Deposited On: 24 Mar 2015 03:01
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2015 03:01

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