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 - February 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Saving Life 2019

The campaign launched by Cancer Council for the 2019 NSW election is now well under way. Each time there is a State election, a series of questions is put 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 will be 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.

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

(Further explanation about each of these campaign issues can be found on the website of Cancer Council NSW.)

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) above :
* 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) above :
* 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) above :
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.




Mount Kosciuszko Challenge

Rare Cancers Australia is holding its Mount Kosciuszko Challenge & inaugural “Parliament to Peak” cycle ride in March. This climb to the summit has become an enjoyable annual event for Rare Cancers Australia and its supporters as well as being a significant fundraiser for the organisation. Last year saw 500 people take part. The actual climb from Thredbo to the peak will happen Saturday March 2. But this year there is an exciting new additional (optional) activity, no doubt due to the involvement of cycling enthusiast, Zac Hulm, within RCA. The P2P Cycle Challenge component, for those who are up for it, will leave Parliament House in Canberra on the morning of February 28th, stay overnight in Cooma, then ride along the Monaro Highway and up the Alpine Way to finish in Thredbo Village on the afternoon of March 1st. Full details of the climb itself and what it involves, and the cycle ride, can be found by visiting the RCA website at www.rarecancers.org.au


March Charge for Cancer Council

Walk or run, in a team or do it solo. It’s your Charge and your choice. The March Charge is a fun personal fitness challenge that has an enormous impact on how cancer is researched and treated. Just by walking or running for Cancer Council this March, and by raising funds, you can help Charge ahead with cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support services. The work of Cancer Council NSW is spread across the whole range of various forms of cancer. You can choose to go solo or get your friends, family, and colleagues together and do it as a team – it’s up to you. Charge anywhere and at anytime you like. You can Charge in the morning with your family or walk with your colleagues at lunch. Find out more about how to get organised at the Cancer Council NSW website : www.cancercouncil.com.au



Community Wellness Festival

A “Rhythm of Life” event will be held in March in the beautiful grounds of Retford Park, Old South Road, Bowral. As you know, James Fairfax AC gifted his grand home and surrounding gardens to the National Trust who are making the site available for selected community events. On the weekend of March 9-10, a Community Wellness Festival will be held to promote awareness of various practices which stem from Eastern philosophies of wellbeing. Local practitioners and individuals will be on hand to highlight their approaches to healthy living. An exhibition from a private collection of Indian and Asian art, textiles and artefacts will also be on display. Contact details : email to retfordpark@nationaltrust.com.au or telephone 02 4861 1933.


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Feb. 26 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Feb. 27
• March has the March Charge for Cancer Council – see details above
• Mount Kosciuszko Challenge for RCA, Sat. March 2 – see details above
• Community Wellness Festival, Retford Park, 10am-4pm March 9 & 10
• Can Assist Meeting, Mittagong RSL, 10am March 12
• Watch out for the next Southern Highlands Can Assist event – details next month, here in this column and on our website.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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