Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2011) . . Page.. 1868 ..
symptoms of it. As an asthma sufferer myself, I know how important it is to have an asthma plan. It is one of the main things which people need to do.
With one in nine children and one in 10 adults affected, asthma affects the whole community. Over 400 Australians—which I think is quite an astounding figure—still die from asthma each year in Australia. The Asthma Foundation have quite rightly said this is unacceptable. That is why we have World Asthma Day, to promote the facts and figures around it. In 2007-08, 9.9 per cent of the population stated they had current asthma. Rounding these numbers, we can say that about 10 per cent of the population—around two million people—have asthma currently. Asthma’s prevalence in Australia is high by international standards, and the reason for this is still unknown.
In terms of, as I said, managing asthma, only 21 per cent of the Australians who have asthma have a written asthma action plan. In the 2007-08 survey, 54 per cent of people with asthma reported using medication for their asthma in the last two weeks, and the rate of smoking among people with asthma is the same, if not higher, than the rate of smoking among people without asthma. As anyone would know, smoking when you have asthma is not a particularly smart thing to do because it is a respiratory disease and it significantly impacts on your health if you smoke.
Up to 90 per cent of people who have asthma inhalers do not use them correctly. Occupational asthma is the most common occupational lung disease in the developed world, with at least nine per cent of cases of adults with asthma either caused or activated by occupational factors. It is thought that up to half of people over 55 with asthma have not been diagnosed.
This is why managing asthma and knowing how to do this is so important. It is obviously the sort of message that days like World Asthma Day can and do help promote. With winter coming on, a time when many people’s asthma does worsen, it is important for these messages around managing your asthma, using your medications correctly, to be reinforced. I hope that World Asthma Day was a successful day. The theme was actually “stay in your PJs for asthma”. Obviously that was not something we could do on budget day here in the Assembly, but I hope it was a successful day and that the messages around managing asthma have got through to people.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (6.55): Mr Speaker, earlier today the Assembly dealt with, in fact, your motion on the notice paper about sustainability strategies. I moved an amendment seeking to substitute the words “call on” with “direct” the government to do something. We had an interesting response from the Chief Minister, who thought it was appalling that the Assembly would direct the government to do anything. I will check the Hansard when it is published. He asserted that basically we should not and could not do these things.
The problem for Mr Stanhope on this issue is that he has form. Indeed, when Mr Stanhope was the Leader of the Opposition on 29 November 2000, what happened? The then opposition, the ACT Labor Party, moved a motion to direct the