Cancer Council Victoria has welcomed the announcement by the Victorian Greens of a major new public health policy ahead of this month's state election.
The Greens' Public Health Action Plan will provide $400 million funding over four years to boost prevention and the response to a range of diseases, including cancer and hepatitis among others.
Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper, said the Greens' plan was a positive step forward for public health policy in Victoria and delivered on some key Cancer Council election priorities.
"The announcement of the Greens' Public Health Action Plan is an important and very welcome contribution to the future of public health policy in Victoria," Mr Harper said.
"The action plan addresses some key Cancer Council election priorities, including targeted hepatitis B immunisation programs for at risk groups, as well as expanded testing programs.
"The liver cancer incidence rate in Australia is increasing faster than any other cancer, and the leading cause of liver cancer globally is chronic hepatitis B infection.
"Hepatitis prevalence amongst at risk groups in Victoria is as high as 10 per cent."
Mr Harper said Cancer Council also strongly welcomed the Greens' focus on maintaining public awareness campaigns about the health risks of smoking, sun exposure, obesity and alcohol.
"In particular, we're delighted this would include an annual investment of $3.2 million to keep our iconic and internationally-renowned SunSmart program running," he said.
"This is a key priority of ours, as the SunSmart program not only saves lives but saves money as well. For example, every dollar spent on SunSmart saves the government $3.60 in avoided healthcare costs.
"We're also pleased to see the Greens' commit to the introduction of mandatory kilojoule labelling on menus in chain food stores, along the lines of the successful New South Wales model."
Mr Harper praised the Greens' initiative and encouraged the Labor and Liberal parties to focus on similarly beneficial public health policies in the lead up to the election.
"What's needed now is a clear sign from both the major parties that they will, at the very least, emulate the Greens' commitment to a better state of health for all Victorians."
For a complete list of Cancer Council Victoria priorities for the 2014 State Election visit: http://www.cancervic.org.au/about/election-priorities