Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (16:33): Heart disease affects more than 65,000 people throughout Australia, and I can’t tell you how excited I am, and a number of my constituents are, I must say, with last week’s announcement by the government that $26 million will be put towards treatment of and research on childhood heart disease. Twenty million dollars of this fund will go to medical research, and the other $6 million will go to benefit HeartKids.
HeartKids is a community-based organisation that I do have a bit of knowledge about. I think we all know someone in our communities who has had a kid who has been born with congenital heart disease—certainly in my community I know a number of them, and my wife’s cousin had a son 22 years ago. He is 22 years old now and still going well. I was speaking to her only very recently. She said, ‘If he’d been born 15 years earlier, he probably would not have survived, but he’s still here now.’ She and her family have drawn great strength from HeartKids, put back greatly into HeartKids and helped other families through these very difficult times. They are very excited now that HeartKids has some ongoing funding, particularly with that strong investment in medical research so that the doctors can keep finding new and better ways to deal with this issue when the child is young and increase their survival rates and keep them around for much, much longer for all of us to enjoy.