Joint Statement:
The Honourable Anna Bligh
Minister for Health
The Honourable Stephen Robertson
Queensland will become the first state in Australia to ban unnecessary, high risk and invasive cosmetic surgery for young people under the age of 18 years, Premier Anna Bligh told Parliament today.

Ms Bligh said an overwhelming response to the first round of public consultation on the issue had revealed strong community support for measures to protect the health and welfare of children and young people.

“Of the nearly 300 public submissions from parents, young people, community groups and industry – 82 percent of respondents were very concerned about unnecessary cosmetic surgery for people under 18 years of age.

“This community concern reflects that of the Government – that young people are making adult decisions about major surgery based on what society tells them is an ideal body image.

“I appreciate this can be a difficult time, especially in a young woman’s development, but to resort to a surgeon’s blade is an adult response best left until one is an adult.

“We are not talking about procedures to correct deformities, or address particular physical features that impact on their medical, psychological or social well-being, but major surgery for purely cosmetic reasons for teenagers will be banned.

“As legislators, we have a responsibility to ensure our youth are not resorting to surgical quick-fixes to improve their appearance and there are no cowboys in the industry are preying on their vulnerabilities and insecurities.

“This is not about becoming a nanny state – it is about protecting the health of young Queenslanders and ensuring any adult decisions they make about their bodies are made as adults,” she said.

Health Minister Stephen Robertson said he expected to bring a Bill to Parliament mid-year.

“Queensland Health will now undertake further consultation with industry to set down clear definitions of “high risk and invasive surgery” and criteria around what circumstances and types of surgery can be exempted from the bans – but we will not be wasting any time.

“There is a disturbing trend of doctors reporting an increase in adolescent patients enquiring about, and demanding, cosmetic surgery.
“The experts are telling us that a heightened focus on cosmetic surgery in advertising and television shows has added to age-old pressures affecting our kids about their appearance.

This pressure appears to be contributing to an increase in young people asking about cosmetic procedures for purely aesthetic reasons and the Bligh Government will tackle this trend now,” he said.

Mr Robertson said the Bligh Government would also move to ban solarium use by Queenslanders under the age of 18, pending any national approach.

“Queensland is the first state to move towards banning solarium use by young people under the age of 18,” he said.

“I will discuss national regulation with my Federal and State counterparts tomorrow at the Australian Health Ministers’ Council in Melbourne.

“While we will support a national approach to regulation, we are determined to ban young people from this potentially harmful practice and will do so – regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s discussion,” he said.

Source: Ministerial media release

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