The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health
Nicolle Flint MP
Federal Member for Boothby
Senator Jim Molan AO, DSC
Senator for NSW
4 December 2018
Stillbirth is one of the greatest tragedies to happen to any family.
The Liberal National Government will convene a national roundtable to address the rate of stillbirth in Australia, along with an initial commitment of $7.2 million for medical research and education programs.
The funding is the Coalition Government’s immediate response to the report from the Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education.
The Government understands the importance of this issue not only for the women affected, but for their partners, families and the broader community.
We will develop a National Action and Implementation Plan in collaboration with clinicians, researchers and all of the advocacy groups who have already done so much to raise awareness and provide care for families who have experienced the tragedy of stillbirth.
Education, counselling, research and clinical care will be among the key points for discussion at the roundtable.
The roundtable will also set the funding priorities and consider the recommendations made in the Select Committee’s report.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare defines stillbirth as fetal death occurring after 20 weeks gestation or weighing 400 grams or more.
It is estimated that one in 137 women will have a stillbirth with the cause unknown in more than 40 per cent of cases.
Our Government will provide $3 million for stillbirth education and awareness programs for women and medical practitioners across Australia.
The University of Melbourne will receive $1.2 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for research to minimise preventable stillbirth through the use of biomarkers and ultrasound in late pregnancy.
We will also provide $3 million for stillbirth research through the Medical Research Future Fund with research priorities to be guided by the national roundtable. A competitive process will be held to allocate the funding for researchers wishing to apply.
We look forward to working together with women and stakeholders to develop a national approach to stillbirth in Australia.