Tanya, thank you very much. It’s a great honour to be here with you.
Prime Minister, thank you very much for being here to support the Cancer Council, as well as Health Minister Mark Butler, and my Shadow Minister, Anne Ruston. To all of my parliamentary colleagues, thank you very much for being here. There are former ministers, health ministers, regional health ministers, deputy prime ministers here, and it just shows you the breadth of support for the Cancer Council, and as the Minister pointed out, this really is a bipartisan effort.
Over the course of the last 12 months our country has provided about $4.95 billion worth of support to treatments, to research, to support for sufferers and for, most importantly, the survival rates and seeing an increase continually.
It’s quite remarkable, as Mark pointed out, that since the 1980s where we had a survival rate of just less than 50 per cent, that now it is at 69 per cent and that’s something that our country should be very proud of. And part of the reason for that, of course, is the credibility that the Cancer Council brings to this space. It’s not just about fundraising – but of course it has to be about fundraising and supplementing the money that is provided through philanthropic causes, and government support as well – but it’s about the trusted voice of the Cancer Council and the morning teas that take place in workplaces, in aged care facilities, in all sorts of businesses and homes around the country, where you can start a conversation.
One of the biggest problems of course in our country is that detection comes too late: particularly for men who are reluctant to engage with their GPs or to conduct regular checkups, that can result in a much more devastating outcome for them, for their families, for their loved ones. So, the conversation that is started by this wonderful morning tea right around the country, is one that results in better health outcomes. And so, I just want to praise Tanya, you and the leadership, for a 60 year hard slog to be where you are today.
Over the course of our nine years in government we invested a significant amount of money – about $27 billion for the listing of new treatments, and new drugs. Just in 2020 alone, 20 new treatments were listed, and the way in which we can attack breast cancer now if there is an early diagnosis is quite remarkable.
My own colleague Jim Molan, who I think was to be here and has been a very strong supporter of the Cancer Council over a long period of time, as you know, has had to experience his own aggressive prostate cancer and has undergone treatment over the course of the last 12 months. Now, a generation ago, he wouldn’t have been expected to survive – let’s be very honest about it – but today, in fact next week, he launches a book, and we will all be there to celebrate his journey and the journey that many Australians follow.
I just think without the Cancer Council we wouldn’t have the information dispersed in the way that it is, we wouldn’t have the research effort, we wouldn’t have the collaboration and we wouldn’t have a joined-up effort across this country.
So, thank you very much for the work that you do, Tanya, and to all of my parliamentary colleagues – thank you very much for being here today.
I know that it means a lot to the advocates and to those who are most passionate about this cause in the room, and I know that together we can continue the fight against cancer in its various forms and make sure that we continue to invest in research to get those better outcomes into the future.