PRIVATE MEMBERS BILL: Dementia
Deputy Speaker, I rise today to speak about one of the nation’s greatest health challenges.
Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia, and the number one cause of death for women.
Almost half a million people are currently living with dementia in Australia, with this number expected to reach around 1.1 million in less than 30 years.
Deputy Speaker, I am proud of the funding our Government is investing into dementia services to support those living with this condition and their carers.
We have a range of Government funded dementia services including Dementia Australia which delivers the National Dementia Support Program and National Dementia Helpline.
These services offer lifechanging support, most notably aiding carers when behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia are affecting a person’s care or quality of life.
Deputy Speaker, carers can go through many emotions, from joy to grief and financial pressure.
It is of the upmost importance to our Government that carers know they are not alone.
The National Dementia Helpline provides free support and advice for carers on how they can look after themselves and the services available to them.
Deputy Speaker, as part of this year’s Budget we made an extraordinary commitment to dementia, investing over $229 million.
Some of the key measures of this investment include enhanced support for people living with dementia, additional outreach capability for the National Dementia Helpline and dementia training throughout the sector.
Deputy Speaker, in my electorate of Bonner I am seeing the benefits of our ongoing investments firsthand.
As part of our Government’s $185 million Ageing and Dementia Mission from 2018 to 2029, the first recipient of the mission with $10 million for dementia research was The Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute.
I had the privilege of being invited to the centre with the Minister for Health Greg Hunt to see the ground-breaking research being undertaken and congratulate the team on being awarded the single largest boost in health and medical research funding in Australia’s history.
Deputy Speaker, the researchers couldn’t have been more grateful for our Government’s continued funding.
I invited local dementia advocates from Bonner to join me on a tour of the research facility and attend a presentation at the QBI world-class research facility.
The tour examined the different technologies and new methods being used to ensure all Australians have a better quality of life.
Deputy Speaker, I also want to take this opportunity to shine a light on two amazing dementia advocates in my electorate, John Quinn and his partner Glenys Petrie.
In 2014, John and Glenys started the Brisbane South-East Dementia Alliance.
And from here, their work has extended across our community and beyond.
John lives with dementia and shares his personal testimony to raise awareness.
To say they have both been heavily involved in our community is an understatement Deputy Speaker.
Glenys had a vision for John to live well and be supported in the community and has dedicated her time to breaking the stigma and changing the mindsets about people living with this condition.
She has organised regular community forums and even an international dementia conference in Bonner.
Glenys has also maintained a ‘Remember Me’ friendship group which meets monthly to enable people with dementia, their carers and family members to get together socially.
It goes to show, providing safe and inclusive spaces, where connections can be made really does make all the difference.
Most recently, Glenys and John have been working with the year 12 students at Bonner’s Iona College to deliver a dementia awareness program.
Students Glenys and John refer to as being the ‘change agents of future’.
Iona College is the first school in Australia to work towards becoming a dementia friendly school and this month the Brisbane South-East Dementia Alliance launched the ‘Creating Change: Activating a Dementia-Friendly Brisbane Forum’ which took place at the college.
It saw Brisbane residents and businesses come together to support and empower people with dementia to live well.
Deputy Speaker, Glenys is well and truly making strides towards her vision that by the Brisbane 2032 Olympics, we will be recognised as a dementia inclusive city.
Currently, Brisbane is the only capital city in Australia that has committed to this recognition and it would not have been possible without the efforts and change driven by Glenys and John.
How fantastic it is to see this level of awareness in the community.
Because Deputy Speaker, a dementia friendly community, is like any other community.
The difference is, everyone feels that they belong.