Local Labor MPs Catherine King and Sharon Knight today celebrated the first anniversary of Ballarat’s word-class cancer centre.
“The Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC) provides integrated care from early diagnosis through to treatment and recovery,” Ms King said.
“It was a year ago that I joined the former Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek to officially open the centre. I am extremely pleased that one year on we can celebrate a facility that is the jewel in the crown of our local hospital network.
“Patients across our region are receiving the care and support they need locally, removing the need for many to travel to Melbourne or elsewhere for specialist treatment.
“I’d like to congratulate the oncologists, doctors, nurses, pathologists, dieticians, pharmacists, social workers, clinical trials and support staff who make such a huge difference in the lives of patients and their families each and every day.
“There are few of us who have not been touched by cancer, either directly or indirectly, through the experiences of loved ones, family and friends.
"Cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia. In Victoria alone we are currently losing 11,000 people to cancer each year. However, through research, early detection and treatment, survival rates have increased steadily over time – saving thousands of lives.
“Research has identified that survival rates for cancer patients in rural and regional areas are poorer than those in metropolitan areas, with the gap in treatment outcomes increasing in step with distance from a metropolitan area.
“The former Federal Labor Government responded to this research and announced that we would establish a network of Regional Cancer Centres via a competitive funding program from the Health and Hospitals Fund.
“Ballarat Health Services, St John of God Hospital and Austin Health, in conjunction with the former Brumby Labor Government submitted a stand-out submission, and I was pleased to join former Health Ministers’ Nicola Roxon and Daniel Andrews in April 2010 to announce that the Federal and State Labor Governments would provide $42 million and $13 million respectively to build the centre.
“However, it wasn’t just governments and our local health services that got behind this project – it was, in fact, the entire Ballarat community who wrote letters and petitioned for this facility.”
State Member for Ballarat West, Sharon Knight highlighted the efforts of her predecessor to secure support for the BRICC.
"I’d like acknowledge the hard work and commitment to this facility of the former Member for Ballarat West, Karen Overington,” Ms Knight said.
“Karen was a tireless campaigner for the BRICC, determined to see improved outcomes for cancer patients in regional Victoria.
“Labor Leader Daniel Andrews speaks of his experience as Health Minister working with Karen Overington on this project and his pleasure working with Federal Labor to deliver the facility.”