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Address to the Pink Ribbon Breakfast, Sydney



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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Address to the Pink Ribbon Breakfast, Sydney

26th October 2015

Well thank you very much Georgie. Lucy and I are really thrilled to be with you all today and I

want to echo Tamara's thanks to all of the supporters of the Pink Ribbon Breakfast. You know,

governments give an enormous amount of money to cancer research, as they should do, in fact,

since 2000 they have been 406 grants from the federal government, totalling more than $230

million for breast cancer research alone, through the NHMRC.

But, government's generosity, it's not really government's generosity, it’s government's duty is

one thing, the support generous individuals, like yourselves. Whether it is in a corporate form,

such as Macquarie Bank the lead sponsor, Nicholas Moore, Shemara Wikramanayake , here as

the leading figures from Macquarie Bank, thank you very much. But all the other supporters, Jack

Logan, your generosity.

I want to thank all of you, from my heart, because government’s money, a dollar from the

government buys as much as a dollar from an individual donor, from a philanthropist, it just buys

exactly the same.

But the difference is this, that when people decide to make a personal contribution, or they

decide that their business is going to make a contribution, it comes attached with it an element of

love, an element of advocacy, an element of personal commitment that is quite remarkable. And

so, a partnership between government, individuals, corporations, donations large, donations very

small, forms a great alliance, a real alliance.

And you can see the power of that. I mean if you look at the work of another great campaigner,

the great philanthropist herself, Nelune Rajapakse, here, what Nelune has done in raising money

for cancer treatment and cancer research for many, many years is a real inspiration to us all. So,

thank you all very much for your generosity and for your continued support.

Now, the main job I have today is to launch this report from the Australian Institute of Health and

Welfare. It’s called Breast Cancer in Young Women: the key facts about Breast Cancer in women

in their 20s and 30s.

Now this is the first national report to present key data which is specific to breast cancer among

young women at a national level. Helen Zorbas and I, the CEO of Cancer Australia, were just

talking about this just before I got up.

This is a very, very important piece of work and it’s going to raise awareness because it is, in

2015 alone, this year, it’s projected that 795 young women will be diagnosed with breast cancer

and 65 will die from it, which is an average of two diagnoses a day and one death a week. Now,

while breast cancer occurs relatively rarely in young women, the number of young women

diagnosed with this disease each year is significant and thanks to this new report, for the first

time we have a picture of the impact of breast cancer on young Australian women.

Look it is, it is heartbreaking to contemplate the impact of breast cancer on any woman, let alone

young women. It’s heartbreaking to contemplate the way in which disease, cancers can interrupt

young lives, tear mothers away from their children.

It’s often uncomfortable to talk about but it does happen and we have to talk about it. The

awareness of breast cancer, the Pink Ribbon Breakfast and many other initiatives, the Jane

McGrath Foundation for example, all of these exercises don't simply raise money, which is very

important, without the money we can't have the research that finds the cures, without the money

we can't fund the facilities that enabled the treatment of cancer patients and their and the support

of their families be continuously improved but it also raises awareness. So it’s really important to

be upfront and open about these things.

Now, if we work together, we make sure that women, especially focusing today, young women,

are very aware, get the best advice. Be aware of their own bodies, be aware of how they can be

alert to symptoms so that they can get early treatment. And as we know the prognosis for breast

cancer which is detected early and treated is very good compared to what it was years ago. And

that’s in large part due to the work of scientists, Cancer Australia, philanthropists, all of you,

collective effort has changed the lives of so many cancer patients.

So this Pink Ribbon Breakfast is an important step every year in that campaign.

I want to thank you all very much for being here, I want to thank governments, particularly Jillian

Skinner our Health Minister in New South Wales herself an example of leadership over many

years and the determination to ensure that the people of this state are better cared for. And if I

may say so Jillian, an example to all of us in government, your combination of charisma,

confidence and competence is something that we should all aspire to.

So, thank you all very much and please remember the support you give buys no more than the

dollars from the government but it comes with your love and that is the most powerful thing of all.

Thank you very much