Ministers statement

I rise to inform the house that today, 15 October, is internationally recognised as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Tonight we will be hosting Victoria’s first statewide remembrance service, bringing together bereaved families from across the state to honour and acknowledge the babies whose lives have been lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death. The death of a baby or child is an incredibly difficult topic for many people, which means it is often a silent and unspoken grief for many parents. But we know that recognition of the loss of a baby or child is a crucial step in acknowledging bereavement and can start the conversations needed to reduce stigma and help people get the support they may need. Sadly pregnancy and infant loss affects hundreds of thousands of people around the world. In Australia an estimated one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage each year, with more than 3000 babies dying each year from stillbirth, newborn death, sudden infant death syndrome and other causes. Such a loss can deeply impact many in the community: parents, siblings, grandparents, other extended family and close friends. Organisations like the Spiritual Health Association, Sands and Red Nose do incredible work to offer bereaved families the care and support that they need in their toughest moments, but we are always looking to do more. We have increased the number of cuddle cots available around the state to give more families that precious time to spend with their baby, and earlier this year, for the very first time, we set a target to reduce stillbirths in Victoria by 20 per cent by 2022. I have every confidence that through this work we will be making a real difference for pregnant women, their babies and their families. I invite families and I invite members tonight to join with all of us in lighting a candle at 7.00 pm in remembrance.