Page 1965 - Week 06 - Friday, 6 May 2005

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Occupational Health and Safety Act, pursuant to section 228—Operation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989 and its associated law—Third quarterly report for the period 1 January to 31 March 2005.


Motion (by Mr Corbell) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Cardiovascular disease

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (11.16): Heart Week was held this week. It focused on increasing community awareness about the risk of cardiovascular disease—or CVD—and what can be done to improve your own heart health.

Heart Week is a major fundraising activity for the Heart Foundation, an organisation which has been invaluable in raising awareness about the dangers of CVD and promoting positive steps that can be taken to prevent CVD such as: be smoke-free, enjoy healthy eating, be physically active, control blood pressure and achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

To chief executive officer, Eileen Jerga, board president, Richard Wilson, and all the staff and volunteers at the ACT division of the Heart Foundation, I give my thanks for the work they do towards reducing cardiovascular disease in the ACT.

Regrettably, cardiovascular disease is Australia’s number one killer. One Australian dies of cardiovascular disease every 10 minutes, accounting for 38 per cent of all deaths. The disease does not kill older people only. Of the 50,292 people who died in 2004 from cardiovascular disease, 60 per cent had not reached the average life expectancy. The disease currently affects the quality of life of one in six. It is estimated that by 2051 one out of four Australians will suffer cardiovascular disease.

On Monday of this week the report entitled The shifting burden of cardiovascular disease was released. That reveals that, whilst there is a shifting burden towards fewer people dying, there are more people living with cardiovascular disease. The report highlights the massive human and economic cost that cardiovascular disease places on our community today. More importantly, the report predicts the increased burden we will face in the future if action is not taken.

Cardiovascular disease is already Australia’s largest health cost item at $14.2 billion, or 1.7 per cent of GDP. The burden of cardiovascular disease has the potential to affect the productivity of the Australian economy through both direct health system costs—estimated at $7.6 billion, or 11 per cent of total health spending in 2004—and indirect costs, which are conservatively estimated at $6.6 billion.

Cardiovascular disease can shorten a person’s working life. Currently more than 55,000 Australians are not in the work force, due to cardiovascular disease, and production losses due to lower employment rates and premature deaths are $3.6 billion.

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