Greg Hunt announces new funding for FASD programs

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced the government will provide $24 million in funding for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic and support services.

Mr Hunt announced the funding on International FASD Awareness Day.

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," said Mr Hunt.

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.

Mr Hunt said, "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.?

The government previously announced $25 million 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," said Mr Hunt.