Breast cancer and rare skin cancer medicines on the PBS

The Liberal National Government is improving the lives of patients in the South West with breast cancer and a rare skin cancer by subsidising innovative medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), saving patients up to $150,000 a year.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said in this year’s Budget our Government will invest $81.5 million to list the medicine Bavencio® (avelumab) on the PBS for the first time for the treatment of metastatic merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and highly aggressive type of skin cancer.

Member for Forrest Nola Marino said it has the potential to save and prolong the lives of around 160 patients a year who expected to benefit from this listing.

“Without PBS subsidy patients in the South West would pay approximately $150,000 per year for this treatment,” Mrs Marino said.

“From May 1 this year it will be reduced to the PBS price of $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card.”

Mrs Marino said patients in the South West with breast cancer will benefit from an Australian Government decision to list Ibrance® (palbociclib) for the first time, on the PBS.

Mrs Marino said without PBS subsidy, patients would pay more than $55,000 a year for this treatment.

“Around 3,000 patients a year are expected to benefit from this listing,” Mrs Marino said.

“These patients will now be able to access this medicine for just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card from May 1, 2019.”

“These treatments improve lives. They reduce the burden of expensive medicines, saving patients and families money.

“Our commitment to the PBS is rock solid. Together with Medicare, it is a foundation of our world-class health care system.

“Our plan for a strong economy continues to deliver record funding for essential health services that saves lives.”

$10 million funding boost for endometriosis research and awareness

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino has welcomed more support for women with endometriosis with new Federal funding to raise awareness of the disease and research to improve the treatment and understanding of this often misunderstood and crippling condition.

Endometriosis is a chronic menstrual health disorder that affects around 700,000 Australian women and girls.

Mrs Marino said endometriosis often causes debilitating pain and organ damage, and can lead to mental health complications, social and economic stress and infertility.
“Many have suffered in silence for far too long, enduring diagnostic delays of between seven and twelve years on average,” she said.
“Patients have historically experienced poor clinical care, due to a low level of understanding of the condition, both amongst the public and the medical community.”

$9 million in Government funding will be allocated for research that leads to non-invasive diagnostic testing, and a better understanding of the causes and underlying factors that lead to the development and progression of the disease.

This research will pave the way for prevention and the development of a possible cure.

In addition, the Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, will receive $1.06 million to develop a digital health platform for endometriosis research and support.

The platform will host a ‘one-stop shop’ providing information and resources, a treatment tool that will refine effective treatments for endometriosis based on patient feedback and a vehicle for promoting and supporting collaborative research.

EndoActive will also receive $160,000 to disseminate its award winning Shared Perspectives endometriosis videos, free of charge, to medical professionals and women affected by endometriosis.

Shared Perspectives is a resource of 25 evidence-based videos that help health professionals and patients to better understand the condition and provide guidance regarding effective methods of management and treatment.

The Liberal National Government is committed to supporting women living with endometriosis and this latest announcement brings the total funding to close to $15 million.

SOUTH WEST FORESTRY INDUSTRY TO BENEFIT FROM DEDICATED REGIONAL HUBS

Federal Member for Forrest, Nola Marino, has welcomed the announcement that WA’s South West has been selected as one of only four pilot Regional Forestry Hubs being rolled out across Australia.
“The Liberal National Government has committed $12.5 million to the Regional Forestry Hubs as well as research and development elements of the National Forest Industries Plan to further grow Australia’s forest industries and set the industry up for the future,” Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Colbeck said.
“The Plan ambitiously aims to deliver a billion new trees to meet a projected quadrupling of global demand for timber products by 2050.
“This is all about delivering the right trees in the right places at the right scale.
“A billion trees with also allow the Liberal National Government to capture 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses per year by 2030.
“This plan will protect and grow the South West’s vital forestry industry, create more jobs, and open up opportunities to build new and improved roads, rail and port facilities.
“The hubs have been identified in regions with existing concentrations of forests available for harvest, processing plants, transport routes and a skilled forestry workforce and the work now begins to determine the size and make up of each hub.
“Funding will be available to support strategic planning, technical assessments and analyses that will contribute to infrastructure and other decisions by investors.
Member for Forrest Nola Marino said the South West’s Regional Forestry Hub has been welcomed by the forest and wood products industry as an opportunity to help better prepare for future challenges and opportunities.
“The assessments that come from the South West Hub will provide industry with regional data that is not currently available, bringing potential to support new investment in the sector,” Mrs Marino said.
“This will assist our region to identify future investment and other opportunities for the forest industries in rural and regional Australia.
“For the South West communities, the Regional Forestry Hub also has the potential to create rural and regional jobs.
More information on the National Forest Industries Plan is available here: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/forestry/national-forest-industries-plan.pdf

FAIRS HELP SMALL BUSINESS TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS

The Liberal National Government is raising small business awareness of the range of incentives, funding and programs available to support them with the launch of its national Small Business Fairs
Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Senator Michaelia Cash launched the first event on February 5 in Perth followed by an event in Bunbury on February 8.
The Small Business Fairs will help existing businesses tap into timesaving incentives and government initiatives, as well as give those looking to start their own small business a chance to talk to government representatives and officials from agencies including the Department of Jobs and Small Business.
Member for Forrest Nola Marino said there were thousands of small businesses in the electorate, so it was important to provide support to help foster growth within the community.
“Small business is the lifeblood of our communities, our industry and our economy. Our local small businesses are working 24/7 and don’t have time to come to us, so we are going to them,” Mrs Marino said. “Whether you’re in retail, hospitality, agriculture, trades and services, the Small Business Fair is an excellent opportunity for business owners, or those looking to get into small business, to know what support and initiatives out there for you to do what you do best – create more local jobs.”
Minister Cash said the Liberal National Government is investing in Australia’s small businesses to foster an environment of confidence, increased investment, economic growth and employment.
“The Government understands that when businesses grow, they create more jobs,” Minister Cash said. “We also understand the daily challenges of running a small business, so the Government has a number of programs to make it easier for Australian small business owners to get on with the job.
“Over the last 12 months we have delivered on tax relief, extended the instant asset write-off for assets costing less than $20,000 to 30 June 2019, made it easier for small business to access finance with the $2 billion securitisation fund, slashed red tape and streamlined GST reporting so businesses can easily and quickly lodge their business activity statements online.
“The Liberal National Government is also helping improve cash flow by committing to pay Government contracts up to $1 million in 20 days, requiring large businesses tendering for Government contracts to match the Government’s 20 day payment terms and has launched the Future Female Entrepreneurs Program focused on engaging 55,000 women and girls, particularly in rural and regional communities.”
The Bunbury Small Business Fair was held at the Quality Hotel Lighthouse on February 8.
For further information visit http://smallbusinessfair.jobs.gov.au.

Huge lithium investment to boost WA economy and create more jobs

Earthworks will now commence on a lithium processing plant in Western Australia that will create hundreds of extra jobs and provide benefits to thousands of local businesses.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the proposed lithium processing plant at Kemerton by US Company Albemarle would be a major win for Western Australia and for our lithium industry.
“A project of this scale is a major boost for Western Australia’s economy with over 800 jobs expected to be created and significant flow-on effects for local businesses,” Minister Birmingham said.
“We know there is growing demand for lithium around the world and also locally, particularly in areas such as energy storage and this presents huge future opportunities for Australia’s lithium industry.”
“We’re the world’s largest lithium producer and there is significant potential to grow investment in infrastructure at various stages within the value chain such as lithium processing.
“This is a welcome investment and vote of confidence in our local lithium industry that will help attract further investment into the future.”
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said the Government was focused on supporting development of the lithium sector.
“Our Resources 2030 Taskforce report highlights the importance of developing new strategies to develop competitive downstream industries, including value-adding for prospective battery and critical-minerals industries,” Minister Canavan said.
“It is a roadmap for how we can put Australia in the best position to make the most of investments in the lithium supply chain and today’s announcement is another step on that journey.
“This is a huge opportunity for us. With the right policies we can advance our industry further up the value chain to become the world’s leading supplier of high grade lithium components – creating new jobs and opportunities for Australians.”
Senator for Western Australia Linda Reynolds said the renewable energy storage industry offers the most exciting new resources opportunity for WA in over 50 years, with WA producing 62 per cent of the world’s lithium.
“In August I hosted a lithium and new energy industry delegation to Canberra where delegates briefed Federal Government Ministers and representatives from the European Union and US Embassy on why WA is the best place for Australia’s ‘Lithium Valley’.
“The Federal Government has embraced the opportunity lithium provides for our economy and I welcome the construction of the Kemerton processing plant in WA.”
Member for Forrest Nola Marino said the project would provide a significant economic boost to both people and businesses in the South West.
“It’s a great thing for my South West region, particularly in the jobs space,” she said.
“Albemarle will have access to a skilled workforce in my South West region and also have training options through South Regional TAFE.
“We’re going to see a greater development of opportunities and secondary processing opportunities from this industry particularly in my electorate of Forrest.”
Australia has now attracted investment from two of the world’s largest lithium producers — Chinese company Tianqi and now US Company Albemarle who are both investing in downstream lithium processing in Western Australia. There are also three other processing plants in the development phase in Western Australia.
This investment comes also after the release of a new strategy by the Liberal-National Government to help maximise Australia’s potential as a world powerhouse in lithium-ion battery manufacturing.
The Commonwealth Department of Environment has now provided the relevant approvals for the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.