As part of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day, the Morrison Government has committed nearly $24 million of funding for FASD Diagnostic and Support Services.
FASD is a brain injury resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol. It is a tragic problem – a preventable disorder that has a dreadful impact on mothers, their babies and families.
FASD babies suffer increased risk of premature birth, as well as permanent damage to their brain and other critical organs. As many as two per cent of Australian babies may be born with some form of FASD.
This funding will reduce waiting times for FASD diagnostic services, and support infant Australians who have been diagnosed, as well as their families and carers.
Held symbolically on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year – International FASD Awareness Day is a reminder to the world that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol.
We all need to stop and think about what we can do to protect children from being born with FASD, to support women and families to stop drinking if they are planning to have a baby and during their pregnancy, and to help those who are living with this condition.
Today’s announcement builds upon $25 million announced in December 2019 for the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education to deliver a national awareness campaign on the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, including FASD. I wish to acknowledge Senator Stirling Griff’s passion for this issue, and in particular for his advocacy for a national awareness campaign.
These commitments bring total Government investment into fight against FASD to more than $75 million since 2012.
The Morrison Government is also strongly committed to mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic beverages to inform pregnant women and the broader community of the advice for pregnant women to not consume alcohol in order to prevent FASD.
At its July meeting, the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation agreed to a mandatory pregnancy warning label that will be implemented over the next 3 years.
The Government is determined to continue working to prevent babies from being born with FASD, supporting women and families to stop drinking if they are planning to have a baby and during the pregnancy, and helping babies born with this condition.