My heart is with those who have been affected by the devastating fires in affected areas of New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
These fires are unprecedented and while we are prepared, well organised and well resourced, the rapidly escalating damage and the heart-breaking human cost calls for nothing less than an all-out response.
High temperatures forecast for the southeast of the country will increase fire danger, and I know firefighters are continuing backburning efforts and other work to bring the fires under control.
The Government is providing immediate and longer-term financial support to fire-affected communities.
The bushfire crisis is the Australian Defence Force's main effort, with several thousand full time and reserve personnel providing direct support in the field, at sea, in the air, and from Defence bases across fire affected regions.
In times like these, we have to work together and look out for each other, and remember that we need to follow advice from local emergency management authorities.
New PBS listing for breast cancer patients
Australians living with advanced breast cancer now have access to an important new treatment option, with the Coalition Government listing a life-changing new medicine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
On 1 January, Verzenio® was listed on the PBS for the first time. It treats non-premenopausal patients with advanced hormone receptor positive human epidermal growth factor receptor two negative breast cancer.
Verzenio® is a new treatment option for approximately 3,000 patients with this type of breast cancer. Without the subsidy, patients would pay up to $55,500 a year to access this medicine. As a result of this listing on the PBS, they will now only pay $41 per script, or, for concessional patients, just $6.60 per script.
It is estimated more than 19,000 women and 160 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia in 2020. We have one of the highest survival rates for breast cancer in the world, with the five-year survival rate at almost 91 per cent. Since 2013, the Government has approved close to 2,300 new or amended listings on the PBS, at an overall investment by the Government of $10.9 billion.