Ministry of Loneliness needed to tackle isolation

Some may scoff, but the proposal has merit, as Australia needs a more community focus, says AMA

It's time for Australia to follow the UK's lead and appoint a Federal Minister for Loneliness or Social Inclusion, according to Simon Tatz, the AMA's public health director.

Fresh from a meeting with Friends for Good, an organisation that aims to reduce loneliness through events and services, Mr Tatz says federal leadership is needed to address social isolation, which one study shows carries an increased risk of early death.

"The current government has instigated initiatives in the aged care sector, however, a much more comprehensive community focus is needed," he writes in Australian Medicine.

"While some may scoff at the idea of a Minister for Loneliness or a Minister for Social Inclusion, it certainly has merit."

The idea comes from the UK, where the government appointed the first-ever Minister for Loneliness after a recommendation from a cross-party report on the social condition.