Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4506 ..
hospital was not available. Feeling desperate, Nina’s friends pumped with her at the hospital and Nina pretended the milk was hers. One friend even snuck in an esky full of expressed milk to the hospital and hid it in a fridge.
These peer-to-peer arrangements work well. I have had many parents express to me how grateful they have been to donate and to receive and for the relationships they have formed in Canberra as a result. But many have also acknowledged the issues with the approach as it currently stands—there is no central location; there is no screening of the donator or their milk, which would add that extra layer of comfort or peace of mind; there is no storage; there is no regulation; and tragically, like with just a few of the examples I mentioned earlier, some parents are not able to get in touch with others in time, whether it is to donate or to receive.
There is clearly a gap and there is clearly a solution. That solution is a milk bank—a physical location and organisation that collects, screens and dispenses donated breastmilk which is pasteurised to limit the risk of infection; a space which regulates the donation of milk from one family to another; a place where donors are not pressured into giving away breastmilk and nor are they paid for it.
You do not have to look far to see the success of milk banks elsewhere. Mothers’ Milk Bank is one of five official milk banks operating across other jurisdictions in Australia. But when we turn our attention overseas, there is a significant jump in numbers. There are more than 200 milk banks across Europe: 36 in France, 30 in Italy, 27 in Sweden, and 17 in the United Kingdom. Another 13 milk banks are active in the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, which includes the US and Canada, and, there are a staggering 200-plus milk banks in Brazil alone.
Brazil has the largest network of breastmilk banks in the world. According to UNICEF, in 2012 Brazil reached millennium development goal 4—reducing the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds, three years ahead of the country’s target. Milk banks were an important pillar in reaching this milestone. In my view, it is time the ACT added to the number of milk bank in the world.
I have been very deliberate in what I have called on the ACT government to do today. It is apparent to me that ACT parents wish to donate and to receive breastmilk, both in and out of the hospital setting, and I absolutely want to see that happen and in a more formal way. But I recognise that how that happens requires investigation. It may be appropriate for a milk bank to be in the ACT; it may be appropriate for us to partner with another jurisdiction instead. An appropriate model might take a form none of us has yet envisaged. Regardless, the feasibility must be investigated.
I urge members here to support this motion today for parents like Emma, like Zoe, like Jordanna, like Kat, like Amelia, like Janelle and like Nina. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (10.29): It is great to be back in the chamber and it is great to be here to discuss one of my areas of strong interest: breastfeeding and giving kids the best start in life and mums the best start in motherhood that they can each have. I thank Ms Cheyne for bringing forward this motion—another part of the puzzle