Media release from Lung Foundation Australia, issued 10th May 2023:

Lung Foundation Australia says overall funding for lung health announced in the Federal Budget is further proof the Albanese Government is committed to tackling lung disease and improving the nation’s lung health.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke said there had been fantastic news for the lung health community in the past week, with last night’s investment in a Centre for Disease Control (CDC) being funded, occupational lung diseases, the Medicare rebate tripling, adding to new investments of over $500 million in the targeted National Lung Cancer Screening Program and action on smoking and vaping.

Mark Brooke, CEO Lung Foundation Australia 

“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,” Mr Brooke said.

“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 an 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, 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. There is always more to be done, but it is an important time to celebrate the announcements that we know will have a positive impact on the 1 in 3 Australians who are currently living with a lung disease, as well as the broader community.”

Read the report including cost benefits and recommendations here.

The announcement on screening received extensive media coverage, including this from ABC news.

Earlier, Lung Foundation Australia issued this news briefing: 

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Lung Foundation Supporters,

On behalf of Professor Lucy Morgan, Chair Lung Foundation Australia, I am pleased to advise that the Australian Government will announce funding of $267 million over four years to fund a National Targeted Lung Cancer Screening Program. This follows the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee approval of an MBS item for the program last year. Lung Foundation Australia is pleased to have been at the forefront with the community to lead advocacy efforts to secure the program.

The announcement by Health Minister the Hon. Mark Butler in Canberra today is the culmination of five years of work by the team at Lung Foundation Australia, working in partnership with many others.  Today I wanted to pay particular respects to the many lung cancer advocates who worked with the Foundation to secure this game changing announcement.  Many patients and close friends have died over the past five years and today’s announcement is for them and those survivors that believed.

I acknowledge and thank the many health care professionals and researchers as well as the team at Cancer Australia who led the inquiry and recommended the program – one which will save an estimated 12,000 lives over the next 10 years. The power of the community coming together and never giving up led to this momentous investment.

I have always said to secure this program will be like running a marathon and today we come one step closer to finishing the first race. There is much to do still as we outline in the National Lung Cancer Blueprint but today, we celebrate this recognition that people with lung cancer matter.

As the saying goes ‘all boats rise with the tide’ and a national screening program will detect lung cancer and other lung diseases earlier and bring hope to families.

On behalf of Lung Foundation Australia thank you for your support. We will have more to say on the tobacco and vaping reforms also announced today but we believe the steps announced also prevent future generations from lung disease.

If you would like to support our work, I encourage you to write to the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Health Minister thanking them or you can make a donation to Lung Foundation Australia to support our work so we can carry on making a difference and a real impact for people living with lung disease.

Kind regards,

Mark Brooke