BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS & ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
BUILDING BETTER CANCER CENTRES ACROSS AUSTRALIA
A Shorten Labor Government will deliver vital upgrades to cancer centres across the country with a $300 million investment designed to bring cancer treatment closer to patients’ homes.
This is another part of Labor’s $2.3 billion Medicare Cancer Plan – the most important investment in Medicare since it was created by Bob Hawke.
Improving cancer treatment across the country means investing in our hospitals – so that everyone who faces a battle with cancer can access world-class facilities – no matter their postcode.
As part of this capital investment, Labor will deliver 13 radiation therapy facilities in regional and rural areas, a $60 million commitment.
Radiation therapy is underutilised in Australia, with one in three patients offered the treatment compared to one in two in North America and Europe, and particular barriers to access in regional/rural areas.
Cancer patients should not miss out on the treatment they need because of their location – Labor’s plan will bring radiation treatment closer to home when it is most needed.
One in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer – and being forced to travel long distances to get treatment is a barrier that patients just don’t need at one of the most stressful times in their lives.
That’s why Labor will upgrade hospital and cancer treatment facilities across the country, improving accessibility of cancer treatment in regional and rural Australia.
This builds on Labor’s plans for cheaper cancer scans, cheaper cancer specialist consultations and cheaper cancer medicines.
Many cancer patients require multiple, regular scans over a number of years, as well as repeated specialist appointments, as part of their journey from diagnosis to remission – meaning their out-of-pocket costs can accumulate to many thousands of dollars.
Many people choose to forego these scans altogether because they simply cannot afford it, potentially putting their lives at risk. The ABS has found more than 300,000 Australians skip radiology each year because of cost.
If you need to see a specialist, the Medicare Cancer Plan will cover an additional 2,000 appointments a day – three million specialist consults with no out-of-pocket costs.
If you need a cancer scan – every MRI machine, in every postcode, will be eligible for Medicare.
If you need a CT scan, an X-Ray, a mammogram, a PET scan – this plan will cut the out-of-pocket costs and provide up to six million free scans and tests.
And today, we are announcing that we will upgrade public hospitals across the country to provide cancer treatment closer to home.
Labor is prioritising health, while the Liberals cut it. Scott Morrison has cut $3 billion from the pockets of patients with his Medicare freeze and $715 million from public hospitals – locking in further cuts until 2025.
Labor will reverse the Liberals’ cuts to health, address rising out-of-pocket costs, fund the best cancer care and provide the support Australians need during one of the toughest periods in their lives.
We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.
Labor introduced Medicare, and we will always protect it.
FRIDAY, 5 APRIL 2019