Helping Canberrans to find and understand health information

Released 26/08/2020

Canberra health consumers will be able to better understand, receive and act on health information following the launch of the Canberra Health Literacy Network today.

The Network, established by Health Care Consumers’ Association (HCCA), brings together health and community professionals, health care consumers and carers to improve health literacy in the ACT.

The aim of the Network is to make it easier for people who use health services to obtain and understand health information, helping people to make more informed decisions about their healthcare.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Network will provide a forum for key stakeholders to openly discuss, plan and address health literacy issues faced by Canberra’s diverse population.

“We know the health system can be difficult to navigate for some people and this causes a barrier for accessing health services.

“This is particularly important for people who are more likely to have complex health needs or face other barriers to accessing integrated healthcare. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, migrants and refugees, people with long term health conditions, carers and people with disabilities.

“Improving health literacy gives people the skills and knowledge they need to access, understand and use information to make decisions about their own healthcare,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

The ACT Government has contributed $600,000 in funding to Health Care Consumers Association to help patients better understand the health system and improve health literacy, including through the Community Health Literacy Project, which created the Network.

In 2020-21 it will deliver and raise awareness of health literacy issues by offering:

  • webinars on practical health literacy topics
  • a network of peers working in different organisations, and
  • online resources for health and community workers and consumers.

The Network is open to everyone. People working in health or community services, or individuals who are involved with consumer, carer or self-help organisations and groups are particularly encouraged to become involved.

“Many people and organisations in the ACT are doing great work to support and build health literacy. The Canberra Health Literacy Network gives them the chance to share what they know, learn from each other and jointly influence how the ACT responds to health literacy issues,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

Quotes attributable to Darlene Cox, Executive Director of the Health Care Consumers’ Association:

“The Community Health Literacy Network will help health and community professionals to make it easier for people to get, and use, health information and services. Today's webinar is the first in a series that will give health professionals an opportunity to hear from, and be inspired by, leaders in the field of health literacy.”

“Our webinars are focused on practical topics and techniques to support clear communication, shared decision-making and access to services. The Network is supported by the Canberra Health Literacy website, which houses trustworthy information and tools health professionals, community workers and consumers can use to build their health literacy skills and get better outcomes from their health care.”

“HCCA works with health services to improve the quality and safety of health care. We advocate for a joined up, collaborative network of health services where people are well supported in their in their experience of care, can find the information they need, and understand their choices,” said Darlene Cox.

People can get involved in the Canberra Health Literacy Network by contacting the Health Care Consumers’ Association by emailing

- Statement ends -

Section: Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases

Media Contacts

Name Phone Mobile Email

Caitlin Cook

(02) 6207 8731

0434 702 827

«ACT Government Media Releases | «Minister Media Releases