Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
That the Senate—
(a) notes that on 16 March 2021 the Community Affairs References Committee will present its report, Effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis and support for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD);
(b) further notes:
(i) FASD is a preventable condition caused by in-utero exposure to alcohol, leading to brain and organ damage in the developing baby, and
(ii) children born with FASD suffer a lifelong range of cognitive, behavioural, health and learning difficulties that affect memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation and social skills;
(c) understands FASD affects at least 2% of the population, yet the condition is poorly understood and often either misdiagnosed or undiagnosed (and FASD children - who 'can't, not won't' - are labelled as naughty or their parents deemed ineffective);
(d) commends the parents who shared their stories and hardships with the committee to aid its understanding of the lifetime impacts of FASD, and the experts who are driven to prevent FASD, and to improve access to diagnosis and supports;
(e) welcomes the funding the Federal Government has committed to FASD diagnosis and support since 2014; and
(f) urges the Federal Government to treat FASD as a national health priority and respond decisively to better manage, and ideally prevent, FASD in Australia.
National health priorities are determined in consultation with states and territories. The Morrison government is determined to continue working to prevent babies from being born with FASD, supporting women and families to stop drinking if they are planning to have a baby and during pregnancy and helping babies born with this condition. We're investing nearly $24 million of funding for FASD diagnostic and support services, which is in addition to the $25 million announcement for a national awareness campaign on the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. These commitments bring the total government investment into the fight against FASD to more than $75 million since 2012.
Question agreed to.