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Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Page: 4226

Mr BROAD (Mallee) (16:03): We've just handed down a budget, and in that budget the federal government have put $78.7 billion towards health. I just want to put that into perspective for people: if you take the total gross domestic product of the 40 poorest countries in the world and add that together, that is still less than what we spend as Australians on health. That's quite a phenomenal thing.

One of the things that the federal government has recently done is sign a five-year supply agreement to put $1 billion towards wiping out hepatitis C. Hepatitis C can now be cured. This is a miracle. There are more than 200,000 Australians with hepatitis C. The five-year supply agreement has some nice clauses in it, including the fact that the more people we treat, the price is capped. So if we can encourage more people to present to their doctor, to present to their GP, to get treated, and the more that get treated in those five years, then the less that will cost us as taxpayers.

We in this parliament are here to talk about things to break down stigma, to confront things like hepatitis C. A lot of people who have had hepatitis C have been drug users. They've got off drugs, but they might still have the disease. In the electorate of Mallee, looking at the statistics, we do have a higher than usual rate of hepatitis C, at 1.12 per cent of the population. Can I encourage you to put any stigma you might have aside, go and see your general practitioner and go and get treated. We can wipe this out. We can make you healthier. It's a great thing that, now, in this First World country, we can cure you of hepatitis C. I say to our GPs: can you be very proactive in encouraging people and make sure that you're talking to your colleagues about being aware that the federal government has done this.

The federal government has delivered a great initiative. We, as members of parliament, need to use ourselves as microphones—as megaphones—to talk about what can be done. There are people in your community, I'm sure, Deputy Speaker, and in other members' communities, who would have this disease, and they're probably not aware that we can now knock it over and knock it over for good. There is a five-year agreement funded by $1 billion. The more people we can treat, the less it costs us. Our great vision is that, by 2030, hepatitis C will no longer be a disease that Australians have. I think we can do this if we talk about this good agreement. I commend it to the people who live in the electorate of Mallee. Go to the doctor, get treated, and get well soon.