- Change Agent
As Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola promoted and elevated preventative health to a central and key component in Australia's overall health strategy.
Nicola established the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (2008), the National Preventative Health Taskforce (2008) and the National Health Preventative Agency (2011) to develop a National Preventative Health Strategy.
The Strategy addressed obesity and alcohol, and introduced a comprehensive action plan to reduce the health impacts of smoking. This wide ranging strategy included legislating to introduce plain packaging, the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cth), and successfully defending the constitutional validity of the government's legislation to control tobacco products in the High Court of Australia.
The Strategy also included banning online tobacco promotion; price in- creases for tobacco products; substantial funding for media campaigns and Quit services; a new Tackling Indigenous Smoking Initiative; funding to make nicotine replacement therapy available on the pharmaceutical bene- fits scheme; and support for complementary State and Territory action.
These historic actions significantly reduced the appeal of tobacco products to children, encouraged more smokers to quit and saved countless lives. Nicola is widely regarded for leading the world in tobacco control. She has received a range of awards in recognition of her contribution to public health, both in Australia and internationally.
The legislation to introduce plain packaging gives effect to commitments under the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into force in February 2005 and has been ratified by more than 170 countries. Nicola's pioneering reforms have inspired leaders and impacted on policies around the world.