The former local member (Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson) of this area has been a strong supporter and fighter for this region, and now as the Senator for the State of Victoria, will continue that great work.
It was no issue for me to accept this invitation. It’s a great privilege to come and open a facility such as this. And (Senator) Sarah (Henderson) mentioned her family history – mine’s the same.
One of the reasons that I’m not sitting on a tractor today, that I actually am a member of Parliament was because of the death of my mother 20 years ago, at 67.
We live in Northern New South Wales, it’s about an eight or nine-hour drive to Sydney. And what she went through as she passed away from cancer – not so much the disease herself but the fact of managing that issue when you’re a long way from treatment is something that no one should go through. And I lost my sister to cancer and seven or eight years ago.
No one knows better than me the importance of having a cancer centre closer to the people that supports you.
This won’t be just for the people of Geelong, it’ll be the people of regional Victoria, the western districts and right up, I suspect, to the Murray, will come here for treatment and that’ll be important.
I’ve got a speech written somewhere that talks about all the facts and figures that the Federal Government is spending on cancer treatment around the country but I do know one thing: that the $3.9 million that went in towards the cost of the linear accelerator, I understand that the partnership between Epworth, Icon and the Federal Government are what makes these things possible and I think that, in itself, speaks for the success of our approach as the government to treatment of cancer.
Cancer isn’t the death sentence that it used to be, but sadly, still, we are losing far too many people in this country to this disease.
Congratulations to all involved. I know that people will come here having the worst time of their life, but having the comfort of knowing that they’re in the best of possible care and that’s very, very important.
I wish you really well for the future. I know that lives are going to be saved here and great comfort is going to be shown. So thank you very much.
I declare the ICON Geelong Cancer Centre open.