Date published: 
21 February 2019
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Liberal National Government has released the National Strategic Action Plan for Lung Conditions to help people living with chronic lung conditions and has provided $4 million as an immediate response to support its recommendations.

The Action Plan identifies priority actions to help speed up diagnosis and improve treatment of lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), occupational lung diseases and rare lung diseases, including cystic fibrosis.

The Liberal National Government will provide up to $4 million to support recommendations in the Action Plan including:

  • $2 million for the development and delivery of lung health training and educational resources for health professionals
  • $1 million will be provided to Lung Foundation Australia for awareness and education for people with lung conditions
  • $1 million for support to population groups considered to be at an increased risk of experiencing poor lung health. This includes improving awareness relating to occupational hazards that affect the lungs, addressing chronic cough and improving awareness of the benefits of immunisation to reduce the risk of respiratory infections.

In Australia, 7.1 million people—almost one in three—live with a lung disease.

There are more than 30 types of lung conditions. Lung cancer, for example, is Australia’s biggest killer claiming more than 9,000 lives in 2017—more than breast, prostate and ovarian cancers combined.

The Action Plan provides direction for a national effort to address the lung health of Australians. It identifies priorities for lung conditions with recommended actions to improve and save lives.

This comprehensive Action Plan was led by Lung Foundation Australia and developed through close consultation with patients, health professionals, key medical and respiratory organisations and research organisations.

I’m also delighted to announce that our Government will invest $5.8 million to list the medicine Spiriva Respimat® (tiotropium) for children aged 6 to 17 years affected by severe asthma on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

From March 1 this year more than 5,000 patients who would be paying in excess of $600 for this treatment each year, will now pay a maximum of $40.30 per script or just $6.50 per script for concessional patients, including pensioners.

The medicine improves breathing by relaxing the air passages that carry air to and from the lungs.

This commitment is evidenced by ongoing funding of medications to support the treatment of respiratory conditions through the PBS with these medications costing about $485 million on average each year.