Anthony welcomes the recent ‘positive’ recommendation for Nusinursen (Spinraza) for PBS listing

Apr 30, 2018

The Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) community will benefit from the recent announcement from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) which has given a ‘positive’ recommendation for the drug Spinraza (Nusinursen) to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

This recommendation would see paediatric patients with Types 1, 2 and 3a SMA be able to access this drug at a vital age before the severe degenerative effects of this disease take hold. SMA is the childhood version of Motor Neurone Disease which causes progressive deterioration of the muscles; affecting everyday tasks such as sitting, walking and even swallowing.

Having access to this drug at the early onset of these symptoms is important to stop the disease progressing, and give children who suffer from SMA the opportunity to reach their developmental goals. SMA Australia Inc. CEO Julie Cini welcomes this decision from the PBAC, as well as the announcement from the pharmaceutical company Biogen who will grant compassionate access to the drug for patients who fulfil the PBS criteria from 1st May 2018. This will be free of charge for patients whilst the SMA community continue their discussions with Minister Hunt in regards to securing Government funding for the drug.

Federal Member for Holt Anthony Byrne MP has praised Ms Cini for her continued campaigning efforts in getting this positive recommendation from the PBAC. Mr Byrne and Ms Cini held a Parliamentary event in Canberra on Wednesday 16th August 2017, to promote awareness of the disease as well as the positive results of Spinraza in preparation for a PBAC decision on the drug in December. The PBAC decision on 15th December 2017 did not recommend Spinraza for PBS listing, subsequently Ms Cini worked with Mr Byrne to table a petition to Parliament calling for the Government to fast-track the drug for patients with SMA.

The petition was highly successful with over 11,000 signatories, and gained media attention as well as the consideration of Parliament. “Julie’s determination to promote this drug through the media, petitioning and meetings with Parliamentarians is an example of our Parliament at its best.

We have worked in a bipartisan manner to ensure that people affected by SMA achieve the best outcome. It’s been a long journey which would not have been possible without the effort of a community champion such as Julie” said Mr Byrne in response to the SMA media release.

The SMA community now eagerly wait Minister Hunt’s announcement of the listing date.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Sep 21, 2017

On 6th September 2017, Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, attended a prostate cancer awareness event at Parliament House in Canberra to help raise awareness for the fight against prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is a serious men’s health issue being the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men with 20,000 diagnoses and close to 3,300 deaths each year.

At the parliamentary event the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia was aiming to encourage men over 50, or 40 if they have a family history of prostate cancer, to talk to their doctor about being tested at their next health check-up.

“In light of family history with prostate cancer I was thankful for the opportunity to have a PSA blood test. It was also a fantastic opportunity to discuss with Prof Mark Frydenberg AM about the benefits of early detection and surveillance strategies to monitor low risk prostate cancers,” said Mr Byrne.

“Unfortunately, a lot of men don’t get checked until it’s too late when all it takes is a simple blood test. Talk to your doctor about being tested. It might just save your life”, said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Tax Help in Holt

Jul 7, 2017

Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, and Tax Help Volunteer Tina Jom are reminding residents that the Tax Help Program in Holt will be starting on Tuesday 1st August 2017 and running until the end of October 2017.

Tax Help is a program run in partnership with the Australian Taxation Office to assist people on a limited income to complete their tax returns. Tax Help is suitable for people earning $60,000 or less a year with tax returns.

“Completing a tax return can be quite a stressful process for many people. I would encourage eligible people to take advantage of this free service that aims to make their lives easier. Our office has already had many enquires this year because our Tax Help volunteer Tina Jom provides such a great service,’ said Mr Byrne.

If you need assistance with completing your tax return this year then please sign up for the free Tax Help program by calling Anthony Byrne MP’s Office. See details below:

Local Tax Help Centre

Anthony Byrne MP’s Electorate Office

Shop HM 2B 8-10 Overland Drive Fountain Gate VIC 3805.
To make an appointment please call: (03) 9796 7533

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Julie Cini – Champion Advocate of Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Jun 6, 2017

Earlier this month Julie Cini, Chief Executive Officer of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Australia Inc (SMA Australia), met with Anthony Byrne MP, to discuss a new treatment which will aid those suffering with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy is the number 1 genetic disease killer of infants under the age of three. It is the childhood version of Motor Neurone Disease, and leaves young children who are diagnosed with this disease unable to do simple everyday tasks such as playing with toys and cutting food to eat.

This new treatment is a drug named Spinraza. Spinraza works by injecting the protein which sufferers of Spinal Muscular Atrophy are deficient in straight into the spine through a lumbar puncture. It is an extremely invasive procedure. However, the families of infants suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy are desperate for a treatment option. In most cases, infants who are diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy have a short life expectancy. There is currently no other effective treatment available. This is why Spinraza is such a beacon of hope for children who suffer from Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Leading the campaign to place Spinraza on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has been local champion Julie Cini from Berwick. Julie founded SMA Australia in 2005 and has since devoted herself to Spinal Muscular Atrophy after her first of two daughters was diagnosed with the disease.

“I first met Julie Cini 8 years ago when she told me about her story of loss and hope. Julie lost her two children to Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and also lost her partner in a tragic car accident during this time. Whilst most people would be unable to cope with such tragedy and loss, Julie became inspired to help other families so that there would hopefully come a day where they do not have to suffer as she did. It’s through Julie’s tireless work with her charity Spinal Muscular Atrophy Australia Inc. that she has been lobbying for the Spinraza drug to become available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This drug offers hope for those families who currently have no other options for treatment,’ said Mr Byrne.

“I promised my girls that I would change the way people see this disease here in Australia. Now 12 years later, this will be one of my biggest achievements. To see an effective treatment available for those with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and to be able to give the gift of hope to families makes the countless hours of fundraising worth it,” said Julie Cini.

“I urge the Turnbull Government to fast track consideration of the drug to the Therapeutic Goods Administration and Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. I also congratulate Julie on her amazing efforts on behalf of all those families with those experiencing Spinal Muscular Atrophy,’ said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533

Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic – Lysterfield Lake Event

May 2, 2017

The 6th Annual Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic will again take place at Lysterfield Lake on Sunday 14th May 2017 to raise funds for breast cancer research.

The event is held annually at Lysterfield Lake and organised by two friends, Carol Bosward and Sandra Rotunno, with the help of some amazing volunteers.

“In 2011 Sandra and I entered the Mother’s Day Classic event in the CBD. In 2012 we decided to run our own event at Lysterfield Lake. The Lysterfield Lake location gives local families an opportunity to be part of this amazing fundraiser. Breast Cancer can affect so many people. Some participants have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, others are there to support a family member, friend or work colleague, raising funds and awareness for those special to them. Since 2012 the Lysterfield event has raised over $65,000 and each year it is a sellout!,” said Ms Bosward.

Prior to this year’s event Anthony Byrne MP caught up with Carol Bosward to help promote this event and encourage local businesses or the local community to finanically support this worthy fundraising event.

“For a successful event, we need sponsors and volunteers. We are extending an invitation to local businesses and members of the community to jump on board and support the Lysterfield event this year”, said Ms Bosward.

“We are looking for a business to volunteer their time to help hand out the medals to participants on completion of the 6km walk/run and to have their branded banners at the start and finish lines. Donation of prizes would be welcome as would a talented ‘Face Painter’ to paint faces for a gold coin donation. Fresh fruit or bottled water from a local business or any other donations would be greatly appreciated. What could your business bring to the event to support those suffering with Breast Cancer?”, said Ms Bosward.

“It is vital we do more to increase awareness of breast cancer and thus I fully support the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic. I encourage locals to invest into this important community event raising funds for breast cancer research. Congratulations to Carol Bosward, Sandra Rotunno and all the volunteers for organising this year’s event,” said Mr Byrne.

For more information on Lysterfield Regional Event contact Carol on 0414694765; Sandra on 0408122946 or go to

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533

It’s 2017 and a new estate in Clyde has no phone, internet or mobile services

Mar 7, 2017

“It’s 2017 and the wonderful residents of a new estate in Clyde have no phone, internet or mobile service since November. This is a national disgrace. I will do everything in my power to ensure these good people get these essential services as soon as possible’, said Mr Byrne.

Anthony Byrne MP met with local residents who are outraged that they have not had phone, internet or access to a mobile service since November.

The Office of Anthony Byrne MP first became aware of this issue of a lack of a phone line access and internet communication when a local resident contacted our office seeking assistance in January 2017. She advised our office that she did not have access to a phone line or internet at her residence. She also advised that over 40 local residents were experiencing the same difficulties.

Subsequently this office raised these concerns with the Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the Arts & NBN Co. We also contacted Telstra to seek assistance with the phone line, and they said if a landline order was submitted a Universal Service Obligation landline service could be arranged. This order has been submitted but the local residents are yet to receive a phone service.

We have since heard a number of concerning stroies from local residents about the harm it has caused not having access to a phone line or intenet service. In one instance a family bought an expensive 3G service but the connection frequently drops out when trying to make calls. In a second instance a resident’s brother had passed away back in the UK and her family was trying to call her but she did not receive this urgent message until she left the estate the next day.

“We are concerned that a phone line and internet connection may take until May 2017 to be installed due to an issue with an exchange. We believe this entire situation is completely unacceptable and it should be resolved as quickly as possible,’ said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533

2017 Holt Australia Day Awards

Jan 26, 2017


Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, honoured 28 outstanding individuals and seven local organisations for their contribution to our community on Australia Day.

The 2017 Holt Australia Day Awards were presented at the Day of Nations celebrations in Hampton Park with a large crowd of families and friends turning out to support the recipients.

‘Australia Day is a wonderful day when we can recognise those people who contribute to the community and make our community a better place’, said Mr Byrne.

The 2017 Holt Australia Day Awards were an opportunity to recognise people like Leonard O’Brien. Len joined Narre Warren Bowls Club on the 9th September 1999 upon his retirement due to deteriorating eyesight.

Upon joining the club Len soon became one of the Club’s most active volunteers. On bowls day’s Len is always there setting up the greens, putting out the mats, jacks, rakes, scoreboards, Flags, umpires kit and all the other equipment that everyone else tends to forget about for the day’s play. After completing his outside duties Len then proceeds to fill the urn, setup tables & chairs, makes sure that the toilets are clean, with adequate toilet rolls, paper hand towels, sun block and hand soap.

Len considers it one of his many duties to walk some considerable distance from home to the club to make sure that the rubbish/re-cycling bins are emptied & put out for council collection.
ln 2000 Len joined Blind Bowls Victoria and in his first year Len entered the Victorian Blind Bowls Championships, representing Victoria in the Australian Blind Bowls Championships.
Len has represented Victoria in every Championship since.

Also amongst the Award Recipients were the Cranbourne Library. The Cranbourne Library in partnership with the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation launched a ‘Forgiving Tree’ initiative last year that delivered much needed resources for local charities in the lead up to Christmas.

In its first year ever, the initiative of the library to forgive book fines and other fees in exchange for a donation to the libraries’ ‘Forgiving Tree’ raised More than $15,000 for local charities. Each of the libraries under the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation banner chose a local charity to partner with and passed on the community’s donations so those less fortunate could enjoy a decent Christmas.

Cranbourne Library partnered with the Cranbourne Information and Support Service (CISS) who provide services and referrals to the Cranbourne community. Furthermore, almost $18,000 worth of lost items were returned and just over $8000 worth of fines and fees were paid back rather than forgiven for a donation. Cranbourne Library Staff Wendy Morrison & Sue Sleet and Casey Cardinia Library Corporation CEO Chris Buckingham were instrumental in making the ‘Forgiving Tree’ initiative a success that has greatly benefited the Cranbourne Community.

Another recipient was Destanee Aiava who captured people’s imagination across the country by playing in the Australian Open 2017 as a 16 year old from Narre Warren. As a junior Destanee was involved in the Serious Tennis program run by Justin Yeo in Doveton. In 2012 as a 12 year old Destanee became an international star by winning the Longines Future Tennis Aces Tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France. Her prize was an opportunity to hit with 22-time Grand Slam winner Steffi Graf.

Sixteen players from around the world converged on the clay vying for the under 13 title and it was great to see twelve-year old Destanee from Narre Warren win the fourth edition of the future tennis aces tournament back in 2012.

This year Destanee broke on to the world stage and broke a record that nobody born in this millennium can match. The 16-year-old Destanee Aiava advanced through qualifying before becoming the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw match at an elite WTA event, beating veteran American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a first-round match at the Brisbane International.

Destanee also competed in the first round of the Australian Open. She has become a star of the future and has inspired many other juniors tennis players and many locals in Narre Warren.

“I congratulate all those receiving a Holt Australia Day Award for their exemplary community spirit and endless hours of volunteer work making our community a better and safer place to live. These people do not get the same acolades as celebraties in the media but in their own quiet Australian way they do tremendous work and make other people’s lives better’, said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533

Award Recipients

Abdul Wahid
African Australia Women’s Group
Amarjit Singh
Amber Summerfield
Cranbourne Library
Daya Wijewardana
Denver De Rozario
Destanee Aiava
Ven. Digamadulle Wimalananda
Doveton Salvation Army Thrift Shop
Endeavour United Soccer Club
Frank Lamattina
Islander’s Creole Club
Jan Gilchrist
Jenny Colvin
Jason Gerdes
Jennie Toyne
Jodie Ann Bedford
Leonard O’Brien
Lisa Neindorf
Long Chen
Lyndhurst Football Netball Club
Lynne Bradley
Mala Pethiyagoda
Mat Harry
Melinda Perry
Paula Correia
Peter Aguto
Revati Ilanko
Rex Ashenden
Sally McCracken
Serbian Cultural Club
Tania Sacco
Tim Allan
Leeanne Browning (In Memorium)

2016 Holt Community Spirit & Leadership Awards

Dec 16, 2016


45 students from 41 local schools were last night recognised at the 2016 Holt Community Spirit and Leadership Awards held at the Cranbourne Community Theatre.

The Awards ceremony, attended by over 200 people included award recipients, parents, teachers and family members was conducted by Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt.

“These awards recognise the outstanding contribution made by the students and the difference their hard work and dedication has made to their schools and the wider community,’ said Mr Byrne.

“On Monday night we heard outstanding stories of students going above and beyond to help others including a student whose passion for orang-utans and other endangered species has seen her hold numerous fundraisers and participate in fun runs and walks during her time at primary school. In 2014, she travelled to Borneo where she visited orang-utan sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres. Whilst in Borneo, she was given the opportunity to participate in a ‘Ranger for a Day’ program, working with orphaned orang-utans, assisting with feeding and other activities. Since returning, she has joined petitions to help support mandatory labelling of palm oil, as well as giving talks at school assemblies and in the classroom. She has raised funds to purchase 40 hectares of protected forest habitat for endangered species in Borneo and Sumatra. She recently adopted two orang-utans, Rahayu and Chocolate, through the Orang-utan Project,’ said Mr Byrne.

‘There were many other impressive stories including a student who collaborated with the Student Voice leadership team to introduce the CESC Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club is held two days per week and students are proud to provide a nourishing breakfast to 40-60 people at each session. His dedication to the Breakfast Club (along with his reliability, persistence and hard work) has inspired other students and staff at the school,’ said Mr Byrne.

“The Holt Community Spirit & Leadership Awards is in its 15th year and is run annually to celebrate the positive contributions young people have made in the local community,’ said Mr Byrne.

“It was a great honour to present these awards on behalf of the community. I am very proud of the local community and the inspirational efforts of our kids who are making our community a better place,’ said Mr Byrne.

All award recipients received a framed certificate and a Village Cinemas voucher.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.


Alkira Secondary College Justin Coleman
Casey Grammar School Bradley Harris
Chalcot Lodge Primary School Maleisha Fernando
Coral Park Primary School Aaron Konwalow
Courtney Gardens Primary School Bianca Buckley
Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School Brooke Galley
Cranbourne East Primary School Prabhu Annavai Prabhakar
Cranbourne East Secondary College Bailey Smith
Cranbourne Park Primary School Haylee Phillips
Cranbourne Primary School Maali Albert
Cranbourne Secondary College Neil Reilly
Cranbourne West Primary School Remi Minto
Dandenong Valley School Rai Miranda
Doveton College Karissa Peters
Doveton College Kimberly Dou
Fountain Gate Primary School Ed Moreno
Fountain Gate Secondary College Jasmine Gonzalez
Gleneagles Secondary College Anthony Clarke
Hallam Primary School Arnela Haisila
Hallam Senior College Sohaila Ahmadi
Hampton Park Primary School Victoria Kumari
Hillsmeade Primary School Kai Maas
James Cook Primary School Daniel Selimi
Kilberry Valley Primary School Yasara Abeysekara
Lynbrook Primary School Spencer Tarnok
Lyndhurst Primary School Charlotte Gruneklee-Smallman
Lyndhurst Secondary College Matthew Cooper
Marnebek School Cranbourne Kayla Damon
Mossgiel Park Primary School Sienna Volkoff
Narre Warren South P-12 College Sheza Malik
Narre Warren South P-12 College Garry Ford
Nossal High School Emily Lai
Rangebank Primary School Tayissah O’Donnell
Southern Cross Primary School Cooper Robertson
St Agatha’s Primary School Isabella Duiker
St Catherine’s Primary School Charlie Nelson
St Kevin’s Primary School Angana Santhosh Kumar
St Paul Apostle North Primary School Nandira Xavier
St Paul Apostle North Primary School Avantiika Singh
St Paul Apostle South Primary School Alessia Biondi
St Peter’s College Chloe Harbour
Strathaird Primary School Adele Carthew
Thomas Mitchell Primary School Lily-Rose Campbell
Waverley Christian College Leticia Riyanto
Waverley Christian College Garrett Munyard


Nov 16, 2016

The Turnbull Government must match Labor’s commitment to invest in an upgrade of Thompsons Road at Cranbourne after failing to include this important project in road funding announcements made this week.

During this year’s election campaign Labor proposed a package of works on roads in growth areas of outer Melbourne, including Thompsons Road, O’Herns Road, Craigieburn Road and Bridge Inn Road.

The package was specifically aimed at ensuring that high-growth areas are provided with adequate infrastructure as they are developed, rather than responding retrospectively when population growth creates traffic congestion.

While Labor welcomes the Government’s decision to invest in a range of Melbourne projects using money it withheld after the cancellation its flawed East-West Link project, Thompsons Road should have been
included in the package.

Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said worsening traffic congestion across Australian cities made it imperative that the Federal Government work with states and local government to deliver adequate infrastructure in growth areas.

“Labor remains committed to upgrading Thompsons Road,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“The Turnbull Government’s road announcements this week copied Labor’s election policy on projects like the O’Herns Road upgrade but it should also commit to Thompsons Road.”

Member for Holt Anthony Byrne welcomed the Commonwealth commitment to additional investment to upgrade the Monash Freeway, which reversed funding cuts the Government made when it took office.

“However, the upgrade to Thompsons Rd is a key priority,’’ Mr Byrne said.

“It is clear that the Coalition is not committed to easing congestion for people living in Cranbourne who use Thompsons Rd each day.’’

Mr Albanese also condemned Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester’s comment on Monday that $1.5 billion allocated to new road funding this week had been “sitting in the bank doing nothing’’.

“The Coalition Government chose to leave this money sitting in the bank doing nothing for two years since the cancellation of the East-West Link project,” Mr Albanese said.

“It could have been re-allocated to other projects years ago, which would have seen many of these projects already completed or underway.’’



BYRNE: DANIEL WHITE 03 9796 7533

A Very Special Day – Mossgiel Park Primary School

Nov 14, 2016


Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, visited Mossgiel Park Primary School for a very special presentation on Monday morning. Mr Byrne said ‘it was fantastic to present the Young Writers Awards to the very talented students at Mossgiel Park Primary School. I congratulated the Principal Jennifer Scott, teachers and parents for this wonderful initiative’.

At Mossgiel Park we believe that the gift of Literacy is the most important experience we can share with our children. Recently, we celebrated the annual Young Writers’ awards at our special school assembly, recognising the talent, efforts and improvements of our students’ said Ms Lynette Pentland from Mossgiel Park Primary School.

‘There was great excitement when the winners were announced and presented with a medal, certificate and book by Mrs Jennifer Scott the Principal and Mr Anthony Byrne the Federal Minister for Holt. There were 2 winners and a highly commended for each year level and 2 Young Writers of the Year awards’, said Ms Pentland.

‘Over the past 2 years the school has implemented a whole school writing program called VCOP/Big Write and there has been a marked improvement in the children’s writing. Our NAPLAN results for writing this year were outstanding. Our Young Writers competition gives all children across the school a chance to showcase their writing’, said Ms Pentland.

‘The children have enjoyed a wonderful year of developing and improving their writing skills. We would like to congratulations all the Young Writers at Mossgiel Park Primary School and thank them for sharing their ideas and stories with us. The staff and parents are very proud of their writing achievements’, said Ms Pentland.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.


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