Protect against Q fever
Q fever is an infectious disease that is almost always related to direct or indirect contact with animals including cattle, sheep or goats. Unfortunately the prevalence of this disease has been amplified recently due to increased hand-feeding and other management practices required on-farm during the drought.
At the moment, Q fever vaccinations cost over $300. I believe this vaccination must be made more cost-effective for farmers in my electorate to take advantage of it, and avoid becoming infected with this debilitating disease.
Recently I met with Bogan Shire Council Mayor Ray Donald to discuss the concerning fact that a rising number of Q fever cases have been confirmed, and that some farmers may be choosing not to get vaccinated due to the significant cost.
Last week I spoke in the Federation Chamber in Parliament House about the importance of this matter to the farmers in my electorate and others. I have written to the Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, and Health Minister, Greg Hunt, to receive guidance and advice on how we can make the vaccination for Q fever more cost-effective for farmers.
Q fever can last many weeks and on occasions, patterns of the disease can be so debilitating that hospitalisation is required. I am aware of people who have suffered the consequences of not vaccinating against this disease, and in light of that, I encourage everyone who has regular interaction with livestock to consider getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
Boosting language learning
Our youngest learners will get the opportunity to learn a foreign language with an expansion to the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program. ELLA uses a play-based digital application to teach preschool children a second language.
Equipping our children with language skills can be a great help. Interestingly, students who have learned a second language are known to perform better in literacy and numeracy during their schooling.
Around 18 preschools in my electorate are among the 2,500 preschools currently participating in the program across Australia. The languages they are learning include French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and many more.
The Coalition Government is providing an additional $11.8 million to expand the ELLA program into more preschools and establish a trial in foundation to year two classrooms.
I encourage all preschools and primary schools across to find out more information about the ELLA program and take up this opportunity to add the program to their teaching plans.
More information, including expressions of interest, is available at www.education.gov.au/early-learning-languages-australia
Supporting type 1 diabetics
I’ve welcomed the news from the Health Minister that free access to glucose monitoring devices will be expanded for pregnant women, children and more adults with type 1 diabetes. This $100 million announcement is very positive, saving people in my electorate up to $7,000 a year.
In October I met with representatives from the DANII Foundation and heard from Condobolin’s Charlotte and Andrew Skinner about the importance of continuous glucose monitors for type 1 diabetics. These devices continually monitor a person’s glucose levels and provide alerts if glucose levels drop too low.
That’s why I believe this new development is especially pleasing. From March 1, 2019 eligibility for fully subsidised continuous glucose monitoring devices will be expanded under the National Diabetes Services Scheme to include:
• women with type 1 diabetes who are pregnant, breastfeeding or actively planning pregnancy
• people with type 1 diabetes aged 21 years or older who have concessional status, and who have a high clinical need such as experiencing recurrent severe hypoglycaemic events
• children and young people with conditions similar to type 1 diabetes who require insulin. This includes a range of conditions like cystic fibrosis related diabetes or neonatal diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks a person’s ability to produce insulin. Expanding free access to glucose monitoring devices will bring peace of mind to more people in my electorate who live with type 1 diabetes.
Photo caption: Member for Parkes Mark Coulton with representatives from the DANII Foundation, who are raising awareness of Type 1 Diabetes.