ACT Parties Respond to Hearing Health Priority – Break the Sound Barrier

ACT Parties Respond to Hearing Health Priority

Oct 13, 2016Hearing Health News


In the lead up to the ACT election we’ve asked all the major parties to agree to putting hearing as a national health priority on the agenda at COAG if they win government on October 15.

Here is what each party said:

ACT Labor

ACT Labor recognises the importance of measures to prevent hearing loss, particularly among young people and for those who work in noisy workplaces.

Examples of measures taken include the ACT Health newborn hearing screening program. This service seeks to identify babies born with significant hearing loss and introduce them to appropriate services as soon as possible in order to help prevent further loss of hearing.

In the workplace, Access Canberra WorkSafe Inspectors proactively engage with and seek to educate employers and those in control of noisy workplaces, such as construction sites. This also includes ensuring compliance with the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

As you may already know, a motion on Hearing Awareness Week received unanimous support of the ACT Legislative Assembly when it was debated on 10th August 2016. The motion called upon the ACT Government to consider methods to raise community awareness of hearing loss and ways to avoid it. In that context, I have noted your request for the ACT to sponsor hearing as a national health priority on the COAG agenda.

I can confirm that if we are re-elected, an ACT Labor Government will support including hearing as a COAG national health priority, along with wider examination and action on preventative health issues.


ACT Liberals

Thank you for your enquiry regarding our position on hearing health becoming a national health priority. As you may be aware, my team and I have long been champions of hearing health. Our team moved an important motion on this very topic during the August sittings this year.

In it, my colleague Ms Lawder said:

I would like to see into the future more ACT government material being more accessible, to improve communication accessibility so that no Canberran is excluded and everyone can participate fully in a socially inclusive city.

I would also like to see the ACT government improving employment opportunities for people with disability in the ACT public service. My motion calls upon the ACT government to do that.

Ms Lawder was instrumental in getting Auslan interpreters onto the floor of the Assembly, and of increasing awareness, openness and opportunities in the ACT Assembly.

Ms Lawder also employs a deaf staff member, and we have all made efforts to welcome, include and accommodate our valued colleague.

In conclusion, I would like to commend those societies working to help those in the hearing health sector and I confirm that, if elected, we would work towards making hearing a national health priority at COAG.

ACT Greens

Thank you for your letter regarding the “Break the Sound Barrier” campaign.

I am responding as the ACT Greens Spokesperson for Health. I agree wholeheartedly that hearing loss, deafness, chronic ear disorders and related balance issues are major issues that need national attention.

Indeed, I grew up with a stepfather who was born without ears, and hence hearing and the evolution of new technologies has played a large part in his life, and in ours, as family members.

The ACT Greens would be happy to commit to sponsoring and supporting hearing as a National Health Priority on the COAG agenda, noting the distinct disadvantage facing people with hearing loss in many aspects of daily life that most take for granted.

You can also find other ACT Greens policies on health matters here:

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