Labor has pledged to build a new radiation therapy centre in the Northern Rivers if it is elected at the upcoming Federal Election.
The announcement was made by opposition health spokesperson Catherine King during a visit to Ballina with Labor leader Bill Shorten today.
It was part of Labor’s multi-billion-dollar package to improve cancer treatment and reduce the incidence of the disease across the country.
‘One of the initiatives is 13 radiation therapy centres across the community, one of which will be located in Far North NSW and one in Grafton,’ Ms King said.
‘We know that only one in three people who are recommended for radiation therapy in Aus actually get access, whereas in comparable countries it’s one in two.
‘We know that there are some 13,000 people or 15 per cent of people recommended to undergo radiation therapy don’t get access and part of that is the it’s too far for people to travel to get access.
The Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot (Labor), said part of the reason for the gap was the lack of approved facilities, particularly in regional areas.
‘Cancer is responsible for the biggest burden of disease in Australia, and cancer patients in regional and rural areas are more likely to die within five years of diagnosis,’ Ms Elliot said.
‘This is one of the many ways in which the seven million Australians who live in the regions have poorer health outcomes than those in the cities,’ she said.
Bill Shorten also pledged $63m for the fight against lung cancer across the country.
‘It’s about making sure we discourage our young people from taking up smoking, and helping those people who have lung cancer already,’ Mr Shorten said.
He also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government on a range of issues including electric cars, wages, political donations, and Mr Morrison’s tardiness in calling the election.
‘For goodness sakes mate, just call the election,’ Mr Shorten said.
‘The people of Australia deserve better from their government.
‘Let’s stop wasting everyone’s time and just call the election.’