Australian of the Year 2020

5 February 2020

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (16:14): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) congratulates all finalists and recipients of the 2020 Australian of the Year awards;

(b) further congratulates eye surgeon and blindness prevention pioneer, Dr James Muecke AM, for being honoured as Australian of the Year for 2020;

(c) recognises Dr Muecke's work on preventing the leading cause of blindness in adults – type 2 diabetes;

(d) notes that:

   (i) type 2 diabetes is a very serious and progressive condition with many serious complications including eye damage and blindness, foot problems and amputations, kidney damage and dialysis, heart attacks, heart failure and strokes,

   (ii) there are now over 1 million Australians who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,

   (iii) Diabetes Australia estimates there could be another 500,000 Australians with "silent" undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, and

   (iv) there are about 2 million Australians with pre-diabetes and these people are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes;

(e) acknowledges that according to Diabetes Australia there is strong evidence that we can help to prevent type 2 diabetes in up to 60% of cases but we are not doing this in Australia;

(f) calls on the Federal Government to develop a National Prevention Program to meet the goals of the Australian National Diabetes Strategy helping to prevent people developing type 2 diabetes that includes:

   (i) risk assessment to identify people at high risk,

   (ii) evidence-based lifestyle behaviour change programs for those at high risk,

   (iii) whole of community change to promote healthy eating, increased physical activity and healthy weight,

   (iv) public education campaigns, and

   (v) public policy initiatives including reducing marketing and promotion of unhealthy food to children, reducing sugary drink consumption, reducing added sugar, fat and salt in the food supply, and reducing the cost of healthy food options for the poor and disadvantaged.

Question agreed to.

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