House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023


Windsor Town Centre, Menopause

12:00 pm

Photo of Susan TemplemanSusan Templeman (Macquarie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Whenever residents in the Hawkesbury are asked what they value in their region, right up the top of the list is heritage. That has came through in numerous surveys in the last decade—Greater Sydney Commission research, tourism research and surveys that I've done. Back in 2020 the Hawkesbury City Council said that its survey revealed that people value the heritage buildings. The council itself committed to retaining the waterwheel and the gaslights in Windsor Mall as part of the $18.5 million Liveability Project. Some $15 million of that funding comes from combined federal-state funding under the 2017 city deal. It was described as a project that would focus on river heritage, civic boulevards and vibrant people places to reinforce strengths of existing village identity, heritage and setting of key town centres.

There has been enormous investment of time and energy by community members, local businesses and some councillors involved since the original working groups. I think that's why there's such disappointment about some of the aspects of the plan for Windsor—primarily, it's hard to see how the stated ambition around enhancing heritage actually translates into the plans. I think the expectations of the business owners whose livelihoods depend on this work being done effectively are very reasonable. As one business owner said, the fact that thousands of people visit the Windsor Mall, the Sunday markets, Thompson Square and surrounds despite the run-down conditions proves Windsor is not in need of modernising just rejuvenation. As another business owner said, the real aim of improving the ambience of the area and then maintaining it is to draw people to the area so that businesses can thrive.

I commend the residents and business owners who are persisting in explaining yet again to council that they'd like to be heard. They are the economic lifeblood of Windsor. They recognise that this may be the one shot to get it right for the next 25 years. They deserve to be genuinely listened to.

Is it hot in here or is it just me? That is something that many women over 45 or 50 find themselves asking. Yes, I'm talking about menopause. In fact, we're really talking about perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. Perimenopause begins when the menstrual cycle becomes consistently irregular and it's when women experience things like hot flushes, night sweats, poor sleep and sometimes mood changes, anxiety and brain fog. Then we hit menopause, which is just a day. We don't know the date until 12 months have passed, but menopause itself is one day. Then we get to postmenopause, and all the symptoms of perimenopause can continue plus women experience increased cardiovascular disease risk, the threat of diabetes and a higher risk of dementia and osteoporosis. But there are things we can do to help inform women and empower them as they move through this phase of their life.

I want to thank the people who took part in the Parliamentary Friends of Women's Health forum this week and congratulate the member for Dunkley for her organisation around it. My friend Shelley Horton shared her horror story of perimenopause. There are things that need to happen. More information is needed to empower women to understand what is happening to them. We also need to educate healthcare professionals so that they understand the different aspects of menopause and midlife women's health. Of course, there's always the need for more evidence. We need more research into this aspect of women's health so we understand it better. That is why I'm very pleased to see that we as a government, the Albanese Labor government, are taking women's health seriously with our announcement of the National Women's Health Advisory Council, which will give expert advice to government on women's health matters.

We've done a number of things around women's health. There's $5 million to improve support for women after a stillbirth or miscarriage. We're establishing specific endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics around Australia. That's something that is affecting a large number of young women and has potential impacts on fertility. We're also extending access to MRIs for women who are struggling to conceive. A really significant announcement is that 50 per cent of all medical research grants will go to women because we know it's women who investigate women's health.

These women's health issues should be spoken about in this place. There shouldn't be a taboo on it. It's going to happen to every woman as she ages, and I'm very proud to be able to put this on the parliamentary record.