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Transcript 17508

Speech to the St Vincent's Institute Luncheon

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 08/12/2010

Release Type: Health

Transcript ID: 17508

The Langman Hotel, Melbourne

Thank you for your warm welcome - and a big "thank you" to the Australian Children's Choir for their outstanding performance here today.

We're here today because Sue Alberti has chosen to do something very special with an auction win from last year.

She could have sat down with five friends and enjoyed a luncheon with me.

Instead, she has transformed it into an opportunity to do good for the whole community, and that is so typical of Sue and her legendary generosity.

Today we launch an appeal that is very close to Sue's heart, and in doing so we remember her daughter Danielle with great affection and respect.

Danielle's passing is a reminder that we must fight hard for life and never, ever give up hope.


We will honour Danielle's memory best by doing all we can to manage and defeat diabetes because diabetes is an insidious disease that we under-estimate at our peril.

It is not just a matter of insulin injections or monitoring your sugar levels.

It is a difficult condition to control with sufferers often battling multiple health problems.

For many, it can lead to the loss of limbs and even loss of life.

And like all chronic diseases, it requires constant management, placing a huge toll on patients and their families.

In short, diabetes is a serious condition that merits a serious response.

These points are not lost on me or on the Government.

That is why, from the first of July next year, we will invest more than $30 million to pilot Coordinated Care for Diabetes.

This program recognises the complexities of diabetes and will identify the most effective methods of care for those living with the disease.

This work will be undertaken through the Diabetes Advisory Group which includes Diabetes Australia and the Australian Medical Association and I understand the Diabetes Advisory Group are, in fact, meeting today.

Notwithstanding the Coordinated Care pilot program, current arrangements for diabetes will continue with more than $2.7 billion invested in diabetes care over the next four years.

Of course, the Government is committed to a broader and long overdue reform of the entire health system.

And I want to share some of the key points today because your presence here shows a special commitment to the future of our health system.

The first thing about the future is that it can't be the same as the past.

The old model of block funding to the States and Territories cannot be sustained.

We need a system that delivers measurable results in return for the taxpayers' dollar.

A system that responds to community needs at the local level.

A system that delivers more early intervention and prevention so hospitals are a last resort not a first response.

Above all, we need the system to be financially sustainable into the future.

That is the purpose of the reforms we have agreed with all the States and Territories bar Western Australia.

Remember the Federal Government's health reforms have two interlocking purposes that every State and Territory needs to keep in mind.

First, by taking on 60 per cent of hospital costs and 100 per cent of community and aged care, the Commonwealth assumes the lion's share of rising health costs into the future.

That growing burden, which would have bankrupted the state treasuries by mid century, now shifts to the Commonwealth.

That means an increasing level of support, starting with at least?$15.6 billion in additional growth funding between now and 2020 above what the States and Territories would otherwise have received.

Yes, the Commonwealth is retaining a share of GST to increase its share of hospitals funding from less than 40 per cent to a permanent 60 per cent.

But the simple reality of this exercise is this:

- the amount of GST we will retain is worth substantially less than the amount we will give back to each state's hospital system.

And as hospital costs grow so quickly, that gap will only widen?over time.

Second, by taking the majority funder role, the Commonwealth will no longer have an incentive to cost-shift into the hospital system because we would only be cost-shifting onto ourselves.

That means we will look for the best way to treat patients - for example in community and aged care settings - rather than using hospitals as a lazy fallback option.

Taken together, our reforms are the biggest change to the nation's health system since Medicare.

It is the best deal the States and Territories will see in a generation.


The health system is about working within the bounds of the known and the familiar using remedies that are proven to work and succeed.

But when we look to the future, we look for cures and treatments that exist only in the minds of our researchers.

Capturing those ideas and putting them into practice is exactly what our great research institutes like St Vincent's exist to do.

You and your sister institutions are writing the next chapter of medical science.

You are rehearsing the future that our children and grandchildren will inherit.

We may not recognise the names of those who devote their lives to research but their work resonates far beyond the laboratory walls.

That is why this year the Australian Government is backing them with $700 million in medical research funding, $430 million for research infrastructure.

I know your institution has its own ambitions with the planned Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery at Fitzroy and I understand Greg Sword in his capacity as Chair of St Vincent's has recently put a business case for this centre to the Government.

Meanwhile, the great work of St Vincent's continues:

- on heart and bone diseases, cancer, Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's,

- and, of course, diabetes treatment which is such a special area of interest for us gathered here today.

I'm told that your islet transplant program has now resulted in four patients becoming independent of insulin a huge improvement in their dignity and quality of life.

I met one of those patients, Margaret Harrigan and we are honoured to have her here with us today.

Margaret's story is a great example of the fact that medical research changes lives.

And it points to a remarkable century of discovery that lies ahead.

But not all breakthroughs belong in the future.

There is something we can achieve right here and now; and that is to advance our understanding of childhood diabetes.

Today I am proud to launch the St Vincent's Institute Childhood Diabetes Appeal because as a society, we need to know more about Type 1 diabetes.

For a disease so prevalent, there is still so much more we have to learn.

What is happening in the immune system of people at risk of the disease?

How can we treat Type 1 diabetes without the use of needles?

The money raised through this Appeal will help unlock answers to these very fundamental questions.

Answers that, if achieved, will change the lives of thousands of Australian children.

Needless to say, if you are feeling a surge of the festive spirit, then give generously.

And I extend that invitation to our friends in the wider corporate world as well.

After all, that's why Sue has gathered us here today; to make a difference.

So dig deep and give the gift of hope to those kids living with the challenge of diabetes.

With special thanks to Sue Alberti, I officially launch the St Vincent's Institute Childhood Diabetes Appeal.

May the spirit of goodwill that has brought us here today sustain and inspire us in the year ahead.

Transcript 17508