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The Governor of Victoria's speech for the 2018 World Diabetes Day Reception.



Mr Chris Jose, President, Diabetes Victoria
Adjunct Professor Craig Bennett, CEO, Diabetes Victoria
Ms Susan Alberti AC, Diabetes Victoria Advocate
All distinguished guests

First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders here with us this evening.

Tony and I would like to welcome you all to Government House to mark World Diabetes Day which, tomorrow, will be acknowledged in more than 160 countries.

As Patron of Diabetes Victoria, I am well aware that across the world, more than 425 million people are currently living with diabetes.

If diabetes were a country, it would be the world’s third largest. And it is estimated that in the next 20 years, one adult in every ten in the world (642 million) will have diabetes. The diabetes-related health expenditure will exceed USD $800 billion.

The reality is that every six seconds somewhere in the world, a person dies from the disease.

Of course, Australia is not exempt. Diabetes affects 1.7 million Australians and is the largest growing chronic disease.  

In Victoria alone, almost 80 people every day are diagnosed with diabetes.

These figures – well known, I am sure, to most of those in the room - really speak for themselves. So, might I make just a few observations about them.

The first is that, in addition to the high number of people living with diagnosed diabetes, there is also a very high number of people living with undiagnosed diabetes. Raising awareness is therefore essential.

Secondly, when it comes to Type 2 diabetes, we know that it can be prevented in around 60% of cases by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being physically active on a regular basis.  Again, education is key in this regard.

Thirdly, the economic impact of diabetes in Australia is estimated at $14.6 billion.

That does not factor in the personal cost. The pain and suffering for those directly affected. The impact on employment and lifestyle. And the immense impost on family members.

For every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role.

And so the theme chosen by the International Diabetes Federation for World Diabetes Day – ‘The Family and Diabetes’ – resonates with us all.

It highlights the financial and social impact on families, as well as the critical role of the family in prevention and in the support of a healthy lifestyle.

You are all here today because you recognise the scale and significance of the epidemic.

You know better than anyone of the need to keep up the research, to push the frontiers of our knowledge and to educate about prevention and management of this disease.  

We are grateful for the work of Diabetes Victoria for everything that it does – and has done since 1953 – to improve the lives and outcomes for our community.

That includes its support of the Diabetes Australia Research Program, to which Diabetes Victoria has contributed almost $17 million since the year 2000.

DARP is a crucial part of addressing the future health of our global population, whilst also investing in the next generation of young and upcoming researchers.

Each year, research projects are chosen through a competitive peer review process. This year, 22 Victorian diabetes researchers were chosen to receive a General Grant.

I am delighted to be presenting the 2019 Diabetes Australia Research Program grants to Victorian researchers.

We congratulate each one of you.

We are grateful for your drive and expertise. And we are grateful that through the vision and generosity of others, you will continue to investigate the prevention and management of diabetes, and work towards a cure for all types of the disease.