Joint Media Release
The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health
Minister for Sport
The Hon. Luke Hartsuyker MP
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
13 November 2017
The Turnbull Government is today launching a new online resource for industry and the community as part of our ongoing work to tackle the rise of antimicrobial resistance.
The launch comes at the start of Antibiotic Awareness Week – which is a timely reminder for all Australians to take action to stop the overuse of antibiotics.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms, like bacteria, that cause infections resist the effects of the medicines used to treat them, such as antibiotics.
The main cause of antibiotic resistance is antibiotic use. The more we use antibiotics, the more chance bacteria have to develop resistance to them.
As a result of antibiotic resistance, standard medical and veterinary treatments may become ineffective and infections may persist and spread to others.
The new AMR website has information for the community, health professionals, animal health professionals, farmers, animal owners and the broader agriculture industry.
Australia is one of the developed world’s highest users of antibiotics – one of the main causes of AMR.
In 2015, Australian doctors prescribed more than 30 million antibiotic scripts through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Many patients are not aware that antibiotics only work against infections caused by bacteria and should not be used to treat viruses like colds, flu, bronchitis and most sore throats.
AMR has both a health and economic impact with infections requiring more complex and expensive treatments, longer hospital stays, and it can lead to more deaths.
The Turnbull Government is investing more than $27 million to help tackle the rise of AMR – including $5.9 million from the landmark Medical Research Future Fund.
We are working with key stakeholders, including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian Veterinary Association, to implement actions under the National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015–2019 and supporting Implementation Plan.
The AMR website is one of the first priority areas of the Implementation Plan to ensure information and educational resources are available for the community, human health, animal health and agricultural sectors.
We all have a part to play to stop AMR developing and spreading in human and animal health.
You can find out more about the progress of the Implementation Plan actions in the National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy Progress Report, which is available at the Antimicrobial Resistance website.