It’s often been said that money doesn’t buy happiness.

But health professionals at a conference in Brisbane say poverty can certainly mean a lower quality of life, and poorer health outcomes for the entire society.

Amy Kelly reports.


Unhealthy diets, inadequate shelter and long working hours are often a fact of life for those on low incomes.

And today experts are warning that social issues like these may also be damaging the health of our society.

Over 300 health professionals from around the country gathered in Brisbane to talk about how to improve public health.

Michael Moore, Public Health Association of Australia: “It’s about nutrition, it’s about education, it’s about housing, it’s about the full range of issues that actually wind up affecting people’s health.”

The conference focused on how social issues such as the environment, education levels, working conditions and access to health services influence public health.

With research showing that most preventable hospitalisations occur among people on lower incomes, experts are calling for a more coordinated approach to healthcare.

Professor Geoff Gallop, COAG Reform Council: “I think it’s most important that we remember that health policy is not just about providing money for hospitals, it’s about working in the community to create healthy families and healthy individuals. Their eating habits, their exercise habits, the general environment in which they live.”

And prevention, it would seem, is better than cure.

Professor Geoff Gallop, COAG Reform Council: “I think it’s important to remind our decision-makers that yes, let’s get money into hospitals to do the right thing by people who are sick, but let’s also remember we can do a lot in the community to make sure people stay out of hospital.”

Amy Kelly, QUT News.