Next Step is Ending RBF Funding Big Tobacco

The Tasmanian Greens said the Health Minister’s announcement of a new anti-addiction program today was a positive step, but Labor risked sending mixed messages by their failure to address the continued investment of state superannuation in tobacco companies.

Greens Health spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP said the Retirement Benefits Fund’s roughly $27 million big tobacco investment portfolio was an example of state health policies working at cross-purposes.

“The Greens support a prevention-based approach to healthcare, which is why it makes no sense for the state super fund to be providing assistance to tobacco companies in the form of investment,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“This latest policy aiming to prevent Tasmanians taking up addictive substances is undercut by the continued investment of state superannuation in tobacco companies.”

“This is crazy mixed-messaging.”

“Prevention is where the biggest savings are to be made in healthcare, so the Greens are pleased to see the Health Minister going on the front foot to tackle alcohol, tobacco and drug misuse.”

“With healthcare costs increasing exponentially, we need to consider ending tobacco investments as being part of a fiscally responsible approach budget management.”

“Cigarette taxes bring in about $6 billion in revenue a year nationally, while treating tobacco diseases costs in the order of $31 billion.”

“Every dollar invested in these killer companies is more money lost from the public health system, whereas the evidence shows that every dollar invested prevention saves us much more down the track.”

“The Greens recently tabled a motion in Parliament to test support from the Labor and Liberal Parties for the introduction of legislation to the unethical investment of state superannuation in tobacco companies.”
Paul O’Halloran MP Greens Health Spokesperson Wednesday, 27 March 2013