I rise to speak on Cancer Council Victoria — Annual Review 2010. I am particularly pleased to speak about the excellent work that the council does, but today is also a significant day for another valuable organisation. It is the first day of the Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women campaign, and I commend those who have participated in that campaign by wearing red today.
Sadly it is a reality that at some stage in every person’s life they will feel the effects of cancer, whether it be suffering it themselves or supporting a close family member or friend through the hardship of fighting cancer. Cancer Council Victoria works extremely hard and is very effective in reducing cancer mortality rates. One of the most effective ways that it does this is through prevention.
I want to quickly touch on the campaigns, advocacy and achievements of Cancer Council Victoria. During the reporting period the cancer council has run some very effective campaigns on the dangers of smoking and obesity. Partly due to the cancer council’s advocacy and constant public information campaigns, 2010 proved to be a very positive year in terms of reducing the number of people smoking, with the move towards plain packaging, the increased tax on tobacco, the subsidisation of nicotine replacement therapy and the mounting pressure for smoke-free public spaces.
There have been other prevention activities, including Cut Your Cancer Risk, a website that helps people to identify lifestyle changes that will cut their cancer risk; Peace of Mind, a campaign to encourage all women to have regular pap tests; and Never Give Up Giving Up, another antismoking campaign.
In terms of the position of obesity on the agenda, it is recognised that obesity causes a significant number of other health issues, and the council has been effective in promoting that. One of the other campaigns I particularly like is the one we have been able to promulgate through schools — that is, Go for Your Life. At every primary school that I have attended where we have promoted that particular campaign it has been an exciting event for all involved, so I applaud the cancer council’s involvement in that.
I also make special mention of the advocacy role of the council.
The council takes a very sophisticated approach in lobbying all political parties, which we have seen in the way the council has effectively engaged with all the political parties leading up to the last federal election, in particular the council’s advocacy in relation to bowel cancer tests.
In terms of its achievements, over 20 years the Cancer Council Victoria has provided assistance to over 750 000 Victorians, and it has also attracted a record number of cancer clinicians to participate in the Victorian cancer clinicians communication program and workshops. In the reporting period the council has also welcomed an additional 12 new face-to-face cancer support groups, which added to the already existing 170 cancer support groups. I commend the report to the house and the very effective work that it is doing in fighting cancer in this state.