10 September 2019

Labor commits to Eurobodalla health and highways in phantom campaign

| Ian Campbell
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Labor candidate for Gilmorem - Fiona Phillips, and Labor leader - Bill Shorten with the MRI machine at South East Radiology. Photo: Supplied.

Labor candidate for Gilmore – Fiona Phillips, and Labor leader – Bill Shorten with the MRI machine at South East Radiology. Photo: Supplied.

No one in the Gilmore or Eden Monaro electorates needs to see pictures of the Prime Minister driving into Government House to know that the Federal Election campaign is on.

Just hours after delivering his Budget reply speech, Labor leader Bill Shorten was in Moruya with his Gilmore foot soldier Fiona Phillips making significant commitments to local health and highways.

Mr Shorten announced that a government he leads will boost cancer services in the Eurobodalla by investing in a local radiation therapy facility.

The news is part of Labor’s $2.3 billion cancer care package announced the night before in Parliament House.

Mr Shorton says Labor will build 13 new radiation therapy facilities in regional areas across Australia, the Eurobodalla is the first location to be announced.

“Radiation therapy is underutilised in Australia, with just one in three patients offered the treatment compared to one in two in North America and Europe,” Mr Shorten said.

“That means approximately 15 per cent of Australian cancer patients who would benefit from radiation therapy miss out.

“Part of the reason for this gap is a lack of approved facilities, particularly outside our big cities.

“And cancer patients in regional and rural areas are more likely to die within five years of diagnosis.”

Labor has also committed to ongoing support for a full Medicare MRI licence for the region, supporting the government’s move announced in February.

The MRI licence means that locals will be able to access a Medicare rebate for an estimated 3,354 services a year through South East Radiology.

Outgoing Liberal Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis said at the time, “This investment by the Liberal National Government means people in Moruya and surrounding areas won’t have to worry about whether a trip to the doctor will require an expensive MRI they can’t afford.”

“Not only will our new Medicare support ensure patients get better treatment and save money, it will also cut down the amount of time patients travel to get a scan.”

Following the Morrison Government’s big-ticket Princes Highway package announced prior to the Budget, Mr Shorten used his time in Moruya on Friday to sign-up a Labor government to the idea.

“I’ve been lucky enough to holiday here with my family, at Bawley Point – I get it,” Mr Shorten said.

“We will match the government’s promise, no difference, but what we are doing, myself and Anthony Albanese, we are working on how we can bring forward some of the government’s promises.

“They have made a promise and some of it is pretty far down the track.

“We want to look at how we can do something in the pinch points, how we can do something on the priority projects earlier.

“Now that we have seen the government’s budget and we know what we have to work with, we are sharpening our pencils.”

While some are disappointed we still don’t have a date for Election Day, it’s hard to see how that would change what we are already seeing and experiencing locally. At least not having a date delays those awful robocalls calls at dinner time!

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Michael Holland6:53 am 10 Apr 19

It is great news for the Eurodoballa community that both major political parties have made commitment to radiation oncology services for our health service.

In the recent Budget, the Federal Government has promised $45+ million towards providing 13 new radiation oncology services nationally.

The Federal Opposition has increased the funding to $60 million.

What does this mean?

The nearest radiation oncology service is a linear accelerator at Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre at Nowra.

This provides external beam radiation therapy for some forms of cancer.

This is not to be confused with medical imaging such as CT and MRI scanners for diagnostic purposes.

A radiation oncology service would need to be a co-located service within a multi- disciplinary cancer care facility including chemotherapy as well as all additional medical and allied health services.

This will need to be situated on the site of the new regional Eurobodalla hospital planned by the current NSW State Government.

The consequence of providing this service is that according to NSW Health role delineation definitions, the new hospital will need to provide level 4 Intensive Care, Medical and Surgical services.

A win – win situation for our community!

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