Updated: Nov 28, 2020
by Pippa Starr
28 November 2020
Questions for the health minister Gregory HuntMP :
Cancer Council Vic. have received over $1.5Million in Department Of Health funded grants over the last 3 years under the guise of Tobacco Harm Minimization.
What is the accountability process to ensure the money is being used effectively?
Is there a publicly transparent reporting system?
Why does QUIT Vic (run by Cancer Council Vic) push the deadly Pfizer product Champix as a leading way to quit smoking?
Are they subsidized directly or indirectly to do so?
Would your government endorse this funding if the head of the Cancer Council Victoria appeared to be denigrating and stigmatizing smokers and vapers on social media platforms rather than appearing to take proactive measures to engage with smokers and vapers to achieve positive health outcomes?
Right now Indigenous smoking rates are nearly 4 times worse than the rest of Australia and indeed need a lot of care and attention to assist with this nationally tragic situation.
In addition to the $1.5 million dollars previously mentioned, Cancer Council Victoria also received an additional $819k in a Department Of Health funded grant in the same period for indigenous smoking.
I also note that there is also around $170 million paid in Australian Department of Health grants (over the last 3 years) to more targeted organisations to help curb the rates of smoking in indigenous communities across Australia.
What can Cancer Council Vic. achieve that more targeted organisations can't?
What evidence of accountability is on public record that clearly indicates that all of this money hasn't gone up in smoke? ie. The $170million
Given the stagnation of smoking rates over the last 6 years why won't your government embrace sensible access to harm reduction alternatives that are more effective than the current nicotine replacement therapies, given they are shown to be no more than around 5% effective.
Greg Hunt, it appears right now that well over 28 members in your party disagree with your position on this issue. Have you fallen out of touch with your party members who actually take time to listen to their constituents?
The evidence is clear that in other countries like the UK and USA where nicotine vapor products assist smokers to quit, the smoking rates have fallen significantly since their inception into the market place. So much so that now Australia's smoking rates are falling up to 3 times slower than those countries and Australia is now no longer a world leader in this area.
The evidence of effectiveness of harm reduction products like Ecigarettes is now clear and known to be less harmful than smoking as stated by John Skerritt of the TGA under oath in a recent senate hearing on tobacco harm reduction.
I congratulate your fellow party senators Hollie Hughes and Matt Canavan for their recent inquiry into the issue of Tobacco Harm Reduction.
However it appeared that accountability of money from the public purse as well as the major issues effecting horrendous smoking prevalence among the indigenous communities in Australia was barely addressed.
Given that smoking is the greatest cause of death and disease in this country what efforts will you and your government do to make Australia world leaders again?
....because right now there is a lot of money and weasel-words being thrown at this issue with very little return on investment for the Australian taxpayers, and it's happening on your watch Mr. Hunt.