Thank you Maree, good morning to you all and thank you all for joining us this morning. It's always difficult to get up for breakfast, but thank you.

I would also like to start by adding my acknowledgement of country.

Can I also acknowledge and thank:

  • Warren Entsch and Matt Thistlethwaite; indefectible workers for this very important cause. Thank you gentlemen, you've been doing it for a number of years and we thank you very very much for the work that you do.
  • Can I also acknowledge the Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Claire Moore and my other parliamentary colleagues who have joined us here this morning.
  • High Commissioners – thank you very much, and
  • Maree Nutt from RESULTS International Australia.

I am pleased your theme for this morning's breakfast is Wanted: Leaders for a TB Free World because Australia is a leader in our region to eradicate TB.

Despite being curable, TB is the world's top infectious disease killer.  In 2016:

  • 1.7 million people died – almost 4,700 each day
  • 10.4 million fell ill – about 28,500 each day

Every 18 seconds someone dies of TB, which means that by the end of my speech today 16 people will have passed away from a preventable disease.

As you can see, we are surrounded by countries with TB.

12 of the world's 30 highest TB burden countries are located in our region, accounting for nearly half of all cases of drug resistant TB and TB deaths worldwide.

In 2017, around 5 million Australians visited South East Asian and the Pacific Island countries, many of whom expecting to have an enjoyable holiday.

Sadly, some contracted TB and consequently, the disease is brought back to Australia.

In Australia, the cost of treating a single patient with drug resistant TB can be up to $260,000.

This means that Australia's health security is directly linked to the health security of our neighbourhood.

TB not only affects individuals, but it also cripples communities; disrupts tourism, trade and investment and sets back regional economic growth and development.

These clear reasons are why the Australian Government is championing turning the page on TB - once and for all.

Papua New Guinea is one of the hardest hit by the TB burden.

With less than 4 kilometers separating PNG from Australia, failure to address TB in PNG puts Australia's health security at risk, as well, of-course, as the Papua New Guinean's health risk.

In June last year, the Government announced a new partnership with the World Bank, targeting drug resistant TB in vulnerable communities in PNG.

While TB continues to kill more people in PNG than any other infectious disease, Australia's ongoing support has achieved significant results to date.

Completion of treatment for TB patients in Western Province's capital of Daru has increased from only 65% in 2014 to more than 95% in 2016.

It is only one of many such programs we have in place.

Australia is directing support for TB through our bilateral ODA programs, multilateral funds and building strong national health care systems – both at home and overseas.

Research is absolutely critical to addressing TB.

The Government has pledged $220 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria over the years 2017 to 2019.

This has seen over 17.4 million people treated for TB, including over 8 million people in the Indo-Pacific region.

We have also provided $40 million since 2013 to research and innovation through Product Development Partnerships, which includes TB Alliance and the Foundation of Innovative New Diagnostics.

Our investments have supported breakthroughs such as the GeneXpert Omni, a portable TB diagnostic system that can deliver point-of-care testing in remote locations.

Last year we announced a further $75 million fund to support the continuation of the excellent outcomes of these Partnerships over the next 5 years.

The Sustainable Development Goals have opened up a valuable opportunity for the global community to rally together to achieve SDG 6 – Good Health and Well Being.

This Goal reflects Australia's values and ambitions to protect our citizens and those of our neighbours to ensure a safe, secure and prosperous region.

Reducing TB burden is necessary to achieve this.

Another step toward SDG 6 will be Australian and global leaders engagement at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Ending Tuberculosis in September.

Can I conclude by thanking the TB Caucus and Results Australia for being outstanding champions for this important cause.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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