Cancer Council Victoria: annual review 2014

Written on the 24 June 2015

06 May 2015

COUNCIL  Statements on reports and papers 


GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)

I am pleased to rise this evening to speak to the Cancer Council Victoria annual review 2014. It is a very informative review that demonstrates just what the Cancer Council undertakes each year and the developments and improvements that are being undertaken in this space. I know all members are very supportive of Cancer Council Victoria. It has multiparty support, and I think we will continue to see support for it in the years to come.

I was particularly pleased to read a number of things in the report. Chief executive officer Todd Harper said in his opening statement:

Each year we are seeing improvements in cancer control from advances in research, improvements in cancer detection and increases in five-year survival rates.

The statistics are pleasing, although there is much more to do. We know that contributing factors like obesity, smoking, alcohol and diet can increase the chances of developing cancer, and we need to do more to educate our community about the risks of cancer and encourage them to utilise the available screening programs.

The report highlights the very effective Cats Don't Smoke app. Under the heading 'Cats help smokers kick the habit' it says:

Quit Victoria teamed up with the Geelong Cats and Healthy Together Geelong to tackle the city's high smoking rates.

In my former role as Parliamentary Secretary for Health I was pleased to launch the app at the Geelong-North Melbourne game in May last year. It was a tremendous game; I think we won that night, although I cannot quite recall. Nevertheless, it was terrific to be there. I note from the report that 27 000 fans were watching the game. The government has put a lot of money into Skilled Stadium, and on that occasion the stadium was full, and I got a very good reception at the launch of the Cats Don't Smoke app. Channel 7 news reporter Rebecca Maddern, who was in the audience, was absolutely horrified

Mr Ramsay interjected.

Ms CROZIER She is the no. 1 ticketholder, isn't she, Mr Ramsay? She does a terrific job and is an excellent ambassador for the football team that both Mr Ramsay and I support. Rebecca was horrified at the statistics I relayed to the audience. The rates of smoking in Geelong are higher than in other areas of the state. In fact average smoking rates across Victoria have fallen to a record low of 13.3 per cent, but more than 20 per cent of adults in Geelong still smoke. Rebecca did a great service for the Cats app and also the Geelong football team, everyone who was there and the Geelong community, because she wrote about the app, speaking of its benefits and of the Geelong players giving words of encouragement to people to quit smoking. Cancer Council Victoria's developers worked in partnership with the Healthy Together team, showing how innovative we are in Victoria.

I cannot let this opportunity go by without acknowledging the work of Dr Shelley Bowen, who was absolutely terrific in running the Healthy Together programs across the state. Indeed I was disappointed to see that future funding for Healthy Together Victoria was not confirmed in yesterday's budget.

Mr Ramsay It is a shame.

Ms CROZIER It is a shame, Mr Ramsay, because the program is targeting some very disadvantaged areas across our state and getting tremendous results. There are leading people in our state such as Professor Paul Zimmet who say that this is the largest preventive health measure of its kind in the world. It was having real impacts and had some very good initiatives. It is very disappointing for those people who have been engaged in the program, for those Healthy Together teams, especially those in Geelong they were a terrific team which I worked with very closely. This demonstrates the work of Cancer Council Victoria, the Healthy Together teams and the Geelong Cats football team. I commend that initiative as well as this report to the house.


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