House debates

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Governor-General's Speech


1:52 pm

Photo of Russell MathesonRussell Matheson (Macarthur, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to speak about an issue that is close to my heart and something I have been campaigning on since entering parliament—juvenile type 1 diabetes. In 2012, I spoke in this House about Will Cullen from Harrington Park in my electorate of Macarthur. Will, now 11, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a baby and has bravely battled this chronic illness throughout his young life. He now uses an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor with a sensor attached to his body. This wireless technology transmits his blood glucose levels to the pump.

Continuous glucose monitoring, or CGM, as it is known, is a critical piece of technology because it sets off an alarm, warning Will either that his blood sugar levels are either dangerously low, avoiding loss of consciousness, seizure or even death, or that his blood sugars are extremely high, which can lead to long-term complications such as blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart disease and stroke. Australia is way behind countries like the US and the UK in providing subsidised access to CGM. Without this technology kids like Will are at risk of dying in their sleep because their pump cannot detect low blood sugar and pump insulin to dangerous levels. Parents are expected to pay as much as $5,000 for this technology on top of all the other costs associated with managing type 1 diabetes. We need to catch up with the rest of the world and find a way to fund CGM so that parents have peace of mind and their child is safer and healthier long term.