Cancer Connections

Beating Cancer in the Highlands ... This column is brought to you regularly by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee and is first published in the Lifestyle section of the Southern Highland News. It is designed to inform everybody of matters relating to cancer in our local community and the wider society. We aim to focus on local news, forthcoming events, services and other cancer issues.

Cancer Connections - March 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019

Saving Life 2019
When there is a State election, Cancer Council puts a series of questions to the candidates of the major parties which might form the new government. This year the campaign is entitled “Saving Life 2019” and in the lead up to the March 23rd poll candidates across NSW are being asked whether they are prepared to give their support to each of these asks :

1) Strengthen the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 to ensure that people working or socialising in a bar or club in NSW are protected from second-hand smoke.
2) Amend the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 to ban tobacco vending machines and introduce an annual licence fee to encourage retailers to stop selling. These measures will reduce the risk of young people developing this fatal habit and support smokers to quit.
3) Remove junk food advertising from state owned property to reduce children’s exposure; and support national regulations on food marketing to children.
4) Provide funding for public lymphoedema services across NSW to ensure that people with lymphoedema have timely access to evidence-based care, regardless of where they live.
(Further explanation of these campaign issues is on the website of Cancer Council NSW.)

In my role as MP Liaison between Cancer Council and the candidates in the seat of Wollondilly, I have asked the aspirants for Liberals (Nathaniel Smith) and Labor (Jo-Ann Davidson) to respond to these four questions. Since there is a possibility that the independent Judith Hannan could be elected after preferences are distributed, I shall record her responses as well.

The candidates’ responses are summarised below. Naturally, they were not all familiar with the four issues raised by the Cancer Council campaign. That was part of the exercise – to have them engage with those issues and consider giving their support. I gave each a copy of the “Saving Life 2019” booklet so that they could look more closely at the proposals and the evidence-based case for them.
On (1) above : All three candidates readily agreed with strengthening the Smoke-free Environment Act.
On (2) :
* Nathaniel was not sure yet. He first wanted to check out which Government department or agency is responsible for tobacco vending machines and who would operate a licence system.
* Jo-Ann did not oppose this one but was concerned about one aspect which she raised : “If the smaller retailers stop selling tobacco, that will mean that the two big supermarket chains will gain an even bigger monopoly in tobacco sales”.
* Judith promptly agreed with the proposal.
On (3) :
* Nathaniel was cautious at first on this but agreed it would be worthwhile, especially in coping with the food industry lobby groups.
* Jo-Ann agreed. She did raise an issue of federal vs state responsibilities in the area of food marketing.
* Judith supported the proposal.
On (4) : All three candidates readily agreed with providing increased funding for public lymphoedema services. All saw that it was a matter of finding the money to do it.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. March 26, RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. March 27
• Can Assist Meeting, Mittagong RSL, 10am April 9
• Can Assist Luncheon at Bowral Golf Club, 12 noon, Sun. May 5. For tickets : ring 0474 647 506 or email :
• Dance event “Stars of the Highlands”, Mittagong RSL, 6.30pm May 17. For tickets : ring 4872 6700.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or


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