No cancer centre due to status
THE Federal Government has been attacked for regarding the Tweed as part of a major city, a move which National Party candidate for the federal seat of Richmond Tania Murdock says has cost the area a regional cancer centre.
Mrs Murdock, who manages two pharmacies at Pottsville, said the Tweed has missed out on getting one of 10 federally funded regional cancer centres because the area is classified as part of a major city.
Lismore, by contrast, will get a regional cancer centre.
“Because Tweed Heads has been included in the ‘RA1 Major Cities’ classification, we don’t qualify for one of the Regional Cancer Centres which the Rudd Government announced in the May 2009 Budget,” Mrs Murdock said.
“Tweed MP Geoff Provest has been campaigning for radiation therapy services for the Tweed and has built a very strong case.”
“There are 3500 cancer sufferers in the Tweed and The Tweed Hospital treats a further 1500 from the southern Gold Coast.
“Our rapidly ageing population means that number will only grow.
“Lismore is getting radiation therapy services even though it treats far fewer patients than the Tweed.”
Mrs Murdock said that in the May federal budget, the Rudd Government promised to boost cancer treatment by announcing $560 million to establish 10 Regional Cancer Centres.
“The first of these cancer centres is being established in the city of Canberra of all places, while Tweed Heads has been told it doesn’t qualify because we are not part of Regional Australia under the government’s current definition,” she said.
“I am calling for our federal member, who is also a junior minister in the health portfolio, to act urgently to correct this anomaly so we get a fair share of the resources for these essential services.”
MP Justine Elliot scoffed at Mrs Murdock’s criticism saying Tweed Heads was “more than eligible” for one of the new centres provided it met criteria which included treating people who have poor access to cancer services and providing treatment closer to patients’ homes.
She said the Rudd Government was spending $3.2 billion on extra health infrastructure whereas “Tania Murdock’s leader Tony Abbott ripped a billion dollars from our health system while he was health minister.”