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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 14206


Mrs MARKUS (Macquarie) (12:50): I second the motion. I rise to speak about diabetes as recognised around the globe annually on November 14, World Diabetes Day. This day recognises a disease the UN describes as a 'major global health threat'. World Diabetes Day is celebrated, remembered and acknowledged annually on November 14, as it marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1921.

Last week, my good friend Dr Roza Sage, the manager of government and health system development at Diabetes NSW, was here in Parliament House meeting with relevant ministers and advisers regarding the aged and their need for care and special attention, if they suffer from diabetes. One of the major concerns with this disease, which makes it particularly menacing, is that it remains significantly hidden. Indeed up to half of all the people with diabetes globally remain undiagnosed.

There are some 1.7 million Australians with diabetes—that is 280 people a day in Australia diagnosed with this disease or one in four adults. In the electorate of Macquarie, there are more than 6,700 people with diabetes and, in New South Wales, we have 480,000 people registered as having diabetes.

Most concerning and frightening is that there are approximately 281,000 people who do not know they have diabetes type 2, which is the most common form of diabetes and accounts for approximately 85 per cent of people with this disease. It is the underlying or associated cause of one in every 10 deaths in Australia. The startling reality is that 7,750 people die from diabetes and its complications in Australia—that is more than breast, prostate and brain cancer combined.

Annually diabetes accounts for 840,000 hospitalisations, 623,000 with cardiovascular and/or kidney disease, 95,000 with vision loss, 5,000 end-stage kidney disease and, what is very disturbing is that 3,500 are required to have their lower limb amputated.

The cost to the health system is frightening: $14 billion a year nationally, with $400 million of treating diabetes in New South Wales alone. For those that were born with type 1 diabetes, their disease cannot be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. For those with type 2 diabetes or trying to prevent it we must look to a healthy lifestyle. Although diabetes type 1 cannot be prevented, it certainly can be helped by a healthy lifestyle.

The theme this year for World Diabetes Day is healthy eating as a key factor in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, and as an important part of the effective management of all types of diabetes to avoid complications.

For the past two years, as a government, we have been concentrating our effort on the health star rating system on processed foods, which is now well accepted by the food industry and consumers. The statistics I have read say it all: it is crucial that we as a nation have a very serious conversation about diabetes, and that is exactly what took place this year. The health minister Sussan Ley announced the nation's largest diabetes conversation to help guide our election commitment to develop a National Diabetes Strategy. Its aim is to prioritise Australia's response to diabetes, identify the best approaches to addressing the impact of diabetes in the community and position Australia as an international leader in diabetes prevention, management and research. It drew on comments from people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, their families and their carers.

The conversation on diabetes resulted in the Turnbull government this November announcing the new national strategy to tackle diabetes, which has an emphasis on the strategy of prevention, early diagnosis, intervention management and treatment centred on the role of primary care. As Minister Ley said:

Under this strategy people will be better informed about diabetes so they can make better decisions. In addition, research and evidence will strengthen prevention and care and, hopefully, move us that much closer to a cure for diabetes.