The new chief executive of the Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia has used his maiden speech to call on the incoming government to invest making the country healthier.
Cautioning against “propping up an ailing illness model”, Carl Gibson said Australia needed a new approach to healthcare that promotes, encourages and invests in wellness.
“The CHC believes, as a former health minister, [newly elected prime minister] Tony Abbott understands the importance of supporting the health of Australians to meet current and future challenges.
“Complementary medicines hold a vital position in empowering Australians to take responsibility for their health, and in assisting the shift of health policy focus from a disease model to one of wellness.”
Gibson said he was pleased to acknowledge the new coalition’s promise to continue consultation with stakeholders, industry and health professionals to reduce red tape and encourage research and development in complementary medicines.
“It is essential to the health of Australians that we take steps to capture the health benefits of complementary medicines. To live up to its potential, a viable and innovative complementary medicines industry is dependent on research.”
The CHC will encourage the government to make research a development a priority in terms of data protection and market exclusivity, Gibson said.
Focus on research
He will also ask lawmakers to commit 1% of National Health and Medical Research Council project funds to complementary medicine research priorities between 2014 and 2018.
“Australia has world-class resources in its academic and research bodies, with the ability to be an international leader in complementary medicine research.
“What is needed to recognise this ability, and to recognise the full potential offered by complementary medicines, is more support for our researchers.”
Gibson replaces Wendy Morrow at the helm of the CHC. He was a public servant in Britain before joining the Conservative Party as a media and political adviser from 1990 to 1994, and specialises in regulation, public policy and campaign communications.
Most recently he served as head of brand and communications at Australia’s leading natural health company, Blackmores.
Before the Liberal-led coalition came to power earlier this month, Abbott unveiled plans to increase health spending to the tune of A$340m. This would be partially funded by cuts to bureaucracy, he told voters.