By Allergen Bureau

Update on the Australian Parliamentary inquiry into allergies

Public hearings have been held in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney as part of the Parliamentary inquiry into allergies and anaphylaxis. Transcripts of these sessions are now available.

Professor Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, and Dr Lisa Studdert, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health, were witnesses at the Canberra hearing. Dr Studdert opened by saying that the Australian government, through the Department of Health, recognises the significant impact of allergy and anaphylaxis on the community. She said it is delivering a number of policies and programs to support people with allergies and address the prevalence of allergy and anaphylaxis in Australia.

Dr Katie Allen was present as a member of the Federal parliament’s health committee. With her experience as a paediatric gastroenterologist, allergist and researcher at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Dr Allen was called upon several times to provide evidence and insights into the current understanding of allergies and anaphylaxis, including the research environment and where particular challenges lie.

The public hearings in Sydney and Melbourne provided an opportunity for many families personally impacted by food allergies to be heard. Several spoke about the need for improvements to Australia’s food allergen labelling, as parents currently feel they play “lucky dip” with their child’s life when they try to interpret allergen information provided on food packages.

The full transcripts of the three sessions held to-date are available on the Parliament of Australia website.