Lung Foundation Australia says overall funding for lung health announced in the recent federal budget proves the Albanese Government is serious about tackling lung disease, and improving the nation’s lung health.
LFA CEO Mark Brooke said fantastic news for the lung health community in the past week included investment in a Centre for Disease Control (CDC), funding to address occupational lung diseases, the Medicare rebate tripling, along with new investments of over $500 million in the targeted National Lung Cancer Screening Program, and action on smoking and vaping.
‘From prevention to detection, diagnosis, treatment, and care, these investments in lung health, and the health system overall will play a key role in addressing the significant unmet needs that are currently faced by Australians living with lung disease and cancer,’ said Mr Brooke.
‘The targeted National Lung Cancer Screening Program investment of $263.8 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to establish and maintain a new national targeted lung cancer screening program will maximise early detection of lung cancer for at-risk Australians.
‘And we are so pleased to see that in response to the recent and alarming spike in the number of workers suffering from silicosis and other silica-related diseases, the government will make additional investments to protect workers by implementing and coordinating a strategy with all Australian governments to prevent these debilitating diseases.’
Mr Brooke said integrated public health policy is the most effective tool to reach smoking reduction targets, as demonstrated by the success of plain packaging laws, advertising reforms and increased taxation.
‘In particular we commend the investment of a $63 million public health campaign to combat vaping and smoking rates.
‘Lung Foundation Australia is determined to work with the government in the development of this campaign to ensure the message is empowering and doesn’t stigmatise current or former smokers or vapers,’ he said.
Mr Brooke also noted increasing investment in the National Immunisation Program, and other important chronic disease management initiatives, which are aligned to the recommendations made in Lung Foundation Australia’s recent strategic Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Blueprint.
‘These funding announcements are wonderful news for our community,’ he said.
‘2023 has been a landmark year for lung health addressing stigma, raising awareness on the importance of good lung health, and enhancing equitable access to support services and research investment for lung disease and lung cancer,’ said Mr Brooke.
‘There is always more to be done, but it’s an important time to celebrate the announcements that we know will have a positive impact on the one in three Australians who are currently living with a lung disease, as well as the broader community.”
You can read the complete LFA report including cost benefits and recommendations here.