The government has rejected a proposal to create a breastmilk bank in the ACT.
Labor backbencher Tara Cheyne last year moved a motion calling on the ACT government to investigate setting up a bank in Canberra to improve the availability and supply of donor breast milk.
She said there were women in the ACT who had excess milk they would like to be able to donate easily. Her call came amid reports there was limited access to donated milk in Canberra for premature babies.
But a report from ACT Health said a local milk bank would not be cost effective. It said access to breastmilk for those that met the strict eligibility criteria was not a concern.
The report said the current eligibility criteria - which includes premature and vulnerable babies - for the distribution of donated breast milk was appropriate. Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the most feasible solution was to maintain current arrangements by sourcing pasteurised donor milk from an interstate milk bank.
"This will ensure that very premature and vulnerable babies continue to receive the best possible care," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"ACT Health will continue exploring opportunities for eligible women in the ACT region to donate their excess breast milk, through an established process that gives donors the peace of mind that the appropriate screening and processing will be undertaken.
"This may involve building a relationship with the Red Cross Milk Bank, which facilitates breast milk collection in South Australia and New South Wales.
"The issues of infant feeding practices and breastfeeding are personal and often emotive topics."