Page 3980 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 29 November 2022

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Health—autoimmune disorders

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.46), by leave: On behalf of Ms Orr, I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that:

(a) autoimmune disorders affect an estimated five percent of the Australian population and they are often chronic and with many associated impacts;

(b) there are around 80 different autoimmune disorders;

(c) the effects of different disorders can range from mild to highly impactful on day-to-day life;

(d) diagnosis of autoimmune disorders can often take years for a large proportion of those who are impacted by them;

(e) for unknown reasons women are more likely than men to develop an autoimmune disorder;

(f) there is no known cure for most autoimmune disorders, but symptoms can usually be managed through various treatments, providing varying levels of relief;

(g) there are some small awareness and advocacy groups for autoimmune disorders in Australia, however, there is currently no large peak body representing those who experience autoimmune disorders;

(h) while there is ongoing research into autoimmune disorders, they are relatively poorly understood and there is a lot of research to be done; and

(i) in other jurisdictions awareness of autoimmune disorders is raised through community awareness activities such as Autoimmune Awareness Month in the USA; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) consider potential options to raise awareness of autoimmune disorders within the ACT community; and

(b) report back to the Assembly on the options identified by the last sitting day in 2023.

I am very pleased to rise today to present Ms Orr’s motion on autoimmune disease awareness on her behalf and to read this speech which she has prepared.

Awareness-raising efforts for various issues and diseases have become much more prominent and widespread in recent decades. This is a good thing, as many diseases do not make themselves readily noticeable, prompting treatment seeking, until it is all too late. Examples of awareness-raising programs for these types of diseases range from efforts by the Cancer Council surrounding skin cancer to testicular cancer campaigns and HIV awareness campaigns. There are also awareness campaigns for signs of sexually transmitted diseases, shingles or rapid stroke recognition so that the public can quickly identify symptoms.

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