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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3258 ..

A 2020 report by the Cancer Council ACT listed melanoma as the second most common diagnosed cancer among ACT males between 2013 and 2017, with an average number of 106 melanoma cases diagnosed per year. The same report listed melanoma as the third most common diagnosed cancer in ACT females in the same period, with an average of 77 melanoma cases diagnosed per year.

While these statistics are shocking, I am pleased to see that in the 2021-22 ACT budget the ACT government has committed to a new cancer research centre at the Canberra Hospital. It is a sincere hope of mine that these investments result in tangible improvements for those diagnosed with cancer in the present and that they grow increasingly unnecessary into the future. Preventative health care is the best way that we can keep people healthy and ensure that our hospitals are not overwhelmed so that they can continue to provide lifesaving services to those who need it, when they need it.

Its integral to the continued health of our citizens that the ACT government continue to implement a preventative health response to the issues facing our society right now. This motion is a small part of this work, but it is a really creative suggestion that will bring colour and movement to our public playgrounds, support artists and help us to prevent skin cancers in adults, as well as in the children they are modelling sun-smart behaviours to.

Once again, I thank Dr Paterson for presenting the motion that the Greens are pleased to support. In my final remarks, I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to Dr Rebecca Read of the Calvary Public Hospital and her ancillary staff who provided a tremendous amount of care over the previous six months to a family member of mine who is currently undergoing treatment for melanoma.

Mr Parton might have a wry grin on his face that we had such a good go at each other yesterday, but, interestingly enough, this is the one that actually touched home most to me in the sitting weeks planned. So I really do appreciate elevating the importance of the conversation. Like so many of these public health issues, they really are just concepts until they touch you personally and somebody that you love. It is really important. I thank Dr Paterson once again.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (3.18): I, too, thank Dr Paterson for bringing this motion to the Assembly and for her ongoing passion for improving the health and wellbeing of Canberrans. That is evidenced in this motion and, more broadly, in Dr Paterson’s contributions since becoming a member of this place.

This motion highlights the unfortunate fact, as Mrs Jones indicated, that Australia has the highest melanoma incidence rate in the world. While Australia, unfortunately, leads the world in this statistic, the ACT’s age-standardised incidence rate of melanoma, at 47.6 per 100,000, is well below the national average of 53.3, and significantly lower than Queensland, at 76.2, which is the highest rate in the nation.

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