Mr Speaker,

Tomorrow is World Osteoporosis Day and it’s an opportunity to focus on bone health in Australia. This is a serious health issue which is resulting in over 160,000 fractures each year. In fact, in 2016 it cost our economy more than $2 billion.

Osteoporosis makes bones become brittle, leading to a higher risk of breaks than in normal bones resulting in fractures and more importantly, increased immobility and loss of quality of life.

Any bone can be affected, but the most common are the hip, spine and wrist.

Unfortunately, osteoporosis usually has no symptoms until a fracture occurs this is why osteoporosis often called the ‘silent disease’.

Mr Speaker it should concern us all that Australia has one of the world’s poorest rates for identifying and treating osteoporosis with about 70 to 80 per cent of those who have a broken bone, are neither diagnosed, nor receiving medical care.

In Australia a bone will be broken every 3.4 minutes due to poor bone health and two-thirds of Australians over 50 have poor bone health. By 2022 there will be 6.2 million Australians aged 50 years or older with osteoporosis.

Such alarming statistics should compel all of us to better understand the growing health crisis at our door. It is why as Chair of the Parliament’s Health Committee, I wanted to speak today about World Osteoporosis Day and why it is important.

It’s important because Osteoporosis doesn’t discriminate on gender; it affects both men and women.

It’s important because it can be treated, if detected early.

Today in the gallery we have three inspiring Australians, Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Cathy Freeman, who are both World Osteoporosis Day Ambassadors as well as the CEO of Osteoporosis Australia, Dr Greg Lyubomirsky. Thank you for all that you’re doing for this great cause.

I urge all Australians to use the ‘Know Your Bones’ online self-assessment tool and have a greater understanding of your individual bone health.

Thank you Mr Speaker.