Legislative Council: Wednesday, October 18, 2023


Restart a Heart Day

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (16:49): I move:

That this council—

1. Recognises that 16 October is internationally recognised as Restart a Heart Day;

2. Acknowledges that rapid access to automated external defibrillator (AED) devices and the application of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can lift survival rates of sudden cardiac arrests from 10 per cent to 70 per cent;

3. Calls on the government to promote first aid programs to train more people in CPR and the use of AEDs;

4. Recommends the government include a mandatory instruction course in CPR and the use of an AED as part of the training process to acquire a driver's licence; and

5. Commends the South Australian parliament in unanimously passing the first laws in the nation making AEDs widely accessible in the community, to apply from 1 January 2025.

October 16 marks world Restart a Heart Day, which falls within a month-long initiative known as Shocktober to raise awareness of the ultimate medical emergency, cardiac arrest, through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of automated external defibrillators.

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating and can often lead to death. It can happen to anyone of any age. A person in cardiac arrest will collapse and stop breathing normally. This is due to blood not flowing through their veins, resulting in their brain not receiving oxygen. When this is the case, they should receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. Early defibrillation within three to five minutes of collapse can increase survival rates by up to 50 to 70 per cent. The message for how to treat cardiac arrest is a simple one: call 000, push on the chest to start CPR and shock if an AED is available.

World Restart a Heart Day was launched in 2018 by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) with a slogan that all citizens of the world can save a life. It has the full support of the European Parliament. Seven out of ten cardiac arrests happen in front of bystanders; however, less than 20 per cent of lay bystanders end up providing first aid. Furthermore, lay bystander resuscitation rates differ significantly across the world, ranging from 5 per cent to 80 per cent. Research shows that CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, through the Global First Aid Reference Centre, made a partnership with ILCOR to promote qualitative first aid education based on scientific evidence and practice for cardiac arrest. I am proud to say that the South Australian parliament is following this course of saving lives through AED and CPR in unanimously passing my legislation to make AEDs widely accessible in our community. It will come into effect in January 2025 and be rolled out over the course of the following 12 months. The legislation is the first in Australia and one of the few in the world. I am informed that other states are looking at following our lead.

Death from cardiac arrest is preventable. Thirty thousand people suffer cardiac arrest in Australia each year. Less than 10 per cent struck down manage to survive. Survival rates decrease by 7 to 10 per cent with every minute that defibrillation is delayed. Every second counts. I am pleased to see that many organisations and businesses in our community are now actively seeking information about AEDs and installing them.

On my travels either overseas or interstate, I make it a point to take photographs where AEDs are placed. European countries are rolling them out, and I noticed quite a few during my recent visit to Taiwan. I now have a portable and affordable CellAED in my car. I have seen recent interstate reports where people's lives have been saved because an AED was nearby.

SA Health in conjunction with the SA Ambulance Service and 000 is using the GoodSAM app, which gives locations for AEDs and which can alert first responders trained in the use of AEDs and CPR to an emergency in their vicinity. CPR is crucial and needs to be used in the application of a defibrillator. We need more people in our community to be trained in CPR. It is not a difficult or even time-consuming exercise.

My motion also calls on the Malinauskas government—and I hope the transport and health ministers seize upon this—to make training in CPR mandatory in the process of people learning to get their driver's licence. If they do not show any interest, I might even look at introducing amendments to the relevant act.

This is already happening in Europe through the acclaimed 'Learn to Drive. Learn CPR' project in collaboration with the European Resuscitation Council and the European Driving Schools Association. Forty-four per cent of European countries, including Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia, require their citizens to undergo CPR training courses to qualify for a driver's licence. This policy is driving future generations of life-saving drivers on their roads.

I shall be engaging with our own driver training associations and the AAA, NRMA, MTA and RAA to consider supporting this initiative in South Australia. I commend the motion to the chamber.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.