Wednesday, 5 December 2018
My home state of South Australia has a proud history of leading the nation with firsts for women. It was the first state to allow women to vote and stand for parliament, in 1894, and it was the home of Australia's first state secondary school for girls, in 1879. Recently I joined South Australian health minister, Stephen Wade, to announce another significant first for education, women and South Australia. We announced that the South Australian Marshall Liberal government and the federal Morrison Liberal government will jointly fund the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia to deliver the Periods, Pain and Endometriosis Schools Program, the PPEP-Talk program, to high schools across the state, including in rural and regional South Australia.
The students at Mercedes College in my electorate of Boothby were the first to hear this fantastic news, and they have been active in their approach to talking about women's health issues, thanks to the recently graduated year 12 students Holly Cooke and Phoebe Edwards. Holly and Phoebe earlier this year hosted a 'girl talk' presentation to speak with their fellow students about menstrual health issues and to share their own personal experiences. I'm sure everyone in this place will agree that this takes a lot of courage, and I commend Phoebe and Holly and Mercedes College, including the principal, Peter Daw, for leading and supporting these important conversations.
I was delighted that Holly and Phoebe were able to join Minister Wade, the Pelvic Pain Foundation's Libby Parker and me to announce the schools education program and remind us just how important and life-changing early diagnosis of medical issues like endometriosis can be. I hope this state-wide education program will prevent another generation of women waiting an average of seven years for a diagnosis and treatment and suffering terribly during that time. We want all young women to know that bad period pain is not normal. If you have bad period pain, you need to see your GP, you need to get help.
I'm so proud of everything that we've been able to achieve for women with endometriosis so far. The federal government has launched the first ever National Action Plan for Endometriosis, which will increase educational awareness, improve clinical management and boost research. The national plan is supported by a significant initial funding investment of almost $5 million. We also want employers to know about endometriosis so they can better support the one in 10 Australian women living with the disease. That's why we announced that, as part of the national action plan, Safe Work Australia will develop workplace specific materials to educate employers on the prevalence and impact of endometriosis. I am so proud that we are well and truly ending the silence on endo. We are doing that one student, teacher, nurse, doctor, employer and woman at a time.