House debates

Thursday, 17 February 2022


Type 1 Diabetes

4:34 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It's budget season, of course, and there are always a lot of requests and calls made on the public purse. But there's one particular request that I am passionate about, many members of my community of Ryan are very passionate about and I know many of my colleagues are passionate about. As we head into the next few weeks and into the budget, I want to put in a particular plug for this government to consider further funding as part of the upcoming budget to assist people with type 1 diabetes.

At the end of 2021, there were 129,211 people registered with type 1 diabetes in Australia. As people would know, type 1 diabetes is often developed quite young, as a child, and is quite different to type 2 diabetes, which is more based on lifestyle factors. In October last year, I, along with 12 other coalition colleagues—and, between us, we represented every state of this great nation—wrote to the health minister asking for support to increase access to type 1 diabetes technologies. Our ambition is that all people living with type 1 diabetes have equitable access to the most effective diabetes management systems, regardless of age or income. This means increasing coverage of insulin pumps and glucose monitors.

That's the good news out of this. The good news is that, despite how difficult it is for young people, and people of all ages, to manage type 1 diabetes, the advances of technology are giving them that option. The technology that we have available now through continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps allows a set-and-forget response where people can just get on with their lives without having to worry about constant testing or the constant highs and lows. I'm so very proud to have been part of this government and particularly initiatives led by the health Minister, Greg Hunt, that have seen this government go further than any before it, making important, groundbreaking initiatives accessible for people with type 1 diabetes.

With a little bit of further investment, we can ensure that those technologies that we're already funding for young people are available to all sufferers so that they can stop planning their lives around how to manage their symptoms and instead plan their futures with confidence. So our ask is this: an extra investment to support expanded access to glucose monitors for adults, who currently miss out, to expand access to insulin pumps to people of all ages with a low-income healthcare card, and, in addition, to make sure that our investment in new technology is fit for purpose so that as new technology becomes available that can be deployed in the fight as well.

This investment would allow continued access to subsidised glucose monitors and insulin pumps for those who have already had access to them. Currently some kids living with type 1 diabetes have either their monitor or their insulin pump taken away at either their 18th or 21st birthday, depending on their circumstance, because they're no longer subsidised. A teen entering adulthood should be planning their studies. They should be starting their career. They should be thinking about how to make a home of their own. They should not be trying to relearn how to manage their diabetes without continuous monitors or pumps. Likewise, parents who have watched their kids excel because of this technology want to see their kids continue to excel. They don't want to see them face extra pressures at an already pressured time, turning 18 or 21, and having the worry of their kids learning how to manage this disease all over again.

That's what struck me about JDRF's Access for All campaign. It's the opportunity to relieve some of the burden of these young Australians during what is an already challenging stage in their lives. It's why I'm enthusiastically supporting their campaign. I know that JDRF ambassadors have reached out to MPs from all across this chamber. I really want to thank them for sharing their stories on living with type 1 diabetes.

This extra investment would make financial sense too. Type 1 diabetes currently costs the Australian community $2.1 billion each year. We can reduce that cost by keeping people out of suffering hypoglycaemia or long-term health effects by managing their type 1 diabetes better using this technology.

I really want to thank Minister Hunt and the PM for engaging with me and other backbench colleagues on this important issue. I sincerely encourage the government to deliver the funding this initiative needs prior to the upcoming budget. I look forward to the community and the government getting behind the campaign.