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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18724


Mr CAMERON THOMPSON (3:53 PM) —I move:

That this House notes:

(1) the number of children in Australia who have insulin dependent diabetes;

(2) the devastating long-term health consequ-ences and medical complications for children with insulin dependent diabetes, including:

(a) hypoglycemia;

(b) heart disease;

(c) microvascular disease;

(d) limb amputation;

(e) kidney failure; and

(f) retinopathy or diabetic eye disease;

(3) the outstanding work by Australian research-ers to find a cure through pancreatic islet cell transplantation;

(4) that research is the key to finding a transplant proced-ure that is safe and available to child-ren; and

(5) the need for support from the Federal Gover-nment to establish:

(a) a national clinical islet cell transplant centre to advance islet cell transplant-ation; and

(b) a research grant to attract the world's best scientists and ensure Australia's posi-tion at the forefront of global re-search.

Around one million people in Australia suffer from diabetes and over 100,000, or 10 per cent, have type 1 diabetes. Most newly diagnosed cases of type 1 are in people less than 15 years old. The most common chronic disease in children is diabetes, and it occurs more frequently than cancer, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. There are over 750 new cases annually. The incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing at 3.2 per cent a year and has almost doubled over the past five years. Australia now has one of the highest rates of juvenile diabetes in the world. In Australia, 98 per cent of the diabetes found in children is type 1, and I am looking forward this afternoon to a wide-ranging debate on the matter as it appears on the Notice Paper. This week parliament will be hosting the Kids in the House program for the first time, and we will be having an inflow of young people with type 1 diabetes. It will be an excellent opportunity for members to come to grips with the very difficult circumstances that apply with this disease. To kick things off this week, it will be good to have a wide-ranging debate on the issues.

Members may be familiar with type 2 diabetes, which is known as non-insulin dependent or adult onset diabetes and generally occurs in people over 40. It can usually be managed through diet, exercise and weight control. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly turns on itself, destroying the beta cells within the pancreas and removing the body's ability to produce the hormone insulin. Insulin allows the body to process sugar to create energy. In untreated diabetes the body literally starves because it cannot process food. There is no cure for diabetes at present—type 1 or 2—but there are many problems that people face because the process of managing diabetes is quite a difficult one.

The goal of diabetes management is to keep blood glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible, as this reduces the risk of developing complications—I have listed on the Notice Paper some of the serious complications that emerge for people over time with type 1 diabetes—but in reality this is very difficult to achieve. A person with type 1 diabetes endures over 14,500 injections and over 20,000 blood glucose tests in 10 years of treating the disease. Although people with type 1 diabetes comprise only 10 per cent of the diabetic population, they account for 42 per cent of the overall cost of diabetes to Australia. A person with diabetes incurs medical costs between two and five times greater than a person without diabetes, and much of this expense is borne by the community. Diabetes is estimated to cost the Australian community in excess of $5 billion a year. In contrast, the combined investment in diabetes research is estimated at around $35 million a year.

I will say a few words about the complications of diabetes because that is when the costs of dealing with diabetes blow out again. For each one of these complications there is a range of added costs to the community, to the individual and to their families. Generally these are side effects that do not occur straightaway amongst type 1 sufferers. Often it can take 20 years for these sorts of complications to emerge, but they are serious. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and of blindness and visual impairment in people aged between 20 and 60. Cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, amputation, reduced quality of life and shortened life are all consequences of diabetes. I look forward to supporting the young people involved in the Kids in the House program later this week, but I also give credit to the government for continuing to campaign for additional programs to support diabetes and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jenkins) —Is the motion seconded?