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Monday, 29 February 2016
Page: 1314

Senator RYAN (VictoriaMinister for Vocational Education and Skills) (15:50): by leave—The Australian government recently approved continued funding to the national breastfeeding hotline for 12 months from 1 July 2016 and continues to have discussions with the Australian Breastfeeding Association regarding longer term funding. There is very strong evidence that breastfeeding gives babies the best start in life and provides lasting health benefits. It also helps mothers recover faster from pregnancy and reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers later in life.

The toll-free 24-hour telephone helpline provides breastfeeding information and peer support for mothers and their families. This can be especially important for women and babies in rural and regional Australia, who can get the information and advice they need without travelling long distances. Australia's dietary guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants until six months of age, with introduction of solid foods at around six months and continued breastfeeding until the age of 12 months and beyond if both mother and infant wish.

Question agreed to.