THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR TO DELIVER LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL SCANS FOR KALGOORLIE
The people of Kalgoorlie-Boulder will benefit from affordable access to life-saving medical scans under a Shorten Labor Government.
Labor will grant Kalgoorlie a Medicare-subsidised MRI licence if we win the next federal election – the first of 20 we will deliver nationwide.
MRI scans are used to detect and diagnose conditions that affect soft tissue – including tumours and cancer – and are critical in the early detection of many diseases.
But they only attract a rebate if they are performed on a machine with a licence, meaning many Australians are forced to travel long distances to access an eligible machine.
Currently, the people of Kalgoorlie must travel 600kms to Perth to access the nearest Medicare-subsidised machine. That means people are forced to pay high out-of-pocket costs, take time off work and sometimes leave their family and friends behind just to get a diagnosis.
Even worse, some people are choosing to forego the scans altogether because they simply cannot afford the trip – potentially putting their lives at risk.
This is obviously unacceptable.
Kalgoorlie – one of the most isolated cities in the world – was identified as an area of acute shortage in a bipartisan Senate inquiry into MRI licences this year.
We will work with the West Australian government to deliver the machine and the licence to the Kalgoorlie Health Campus early in our time in office –benefitting thousands of people in the area.
The Turnbull Government has completely neglected MRI scans, granting only four MRI licences in almost five years in office.
Labor by contrast granted 238 licences, with hundreds of communities benefiting from the early detection and diagnosis of disease today because of Labor’s investment.
And last week we got the disturbing news that Turnbull had promised One Nation he would deliver an MRI licence to Kalgoorlie – but only if the minor party backed his corporate tax cuts.
Turnbull was effectively saying to the people of Kalgoorlie: I’ll only give you access to life-saving medical scans if One Nation supports my $80 billion tax cut for the top end of town.
What kind of leader would hold a whole community to ransom in this way? He’s toying with people’s lives and it’s sickening.
Labor will deliver 20 extra licences, starting with Kalgoorlie.
The first 10 licences will be reserved for public hospitals, with locations determined based on evidence to the Senate inquiry. The remaining licences will be awarded via a transparent application process under a Labor Government.
TUESDAY, 12 JUNE 2018