The Radiation Therapy Advisory Group (RTAG) welcomes Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s budget reply commitment of $60 million to help fund 13 radiation therapy facilities for regional parts of Australia. We note this Is a significant part of Federal Labor’s $300 million investment designed to bring cancer treatment closer to patients’ homes.
RTAG has been campaigning for better access for regional cancer patients and is very pleased that the Opposition recognises the need to help them access radiation therapy, a treatment which is precise, effective and non-invasive compared with other forms of treatment.
The Labor Opposition’s commitment now ensures a bipartisan approach to better access to radiation therapy for Australians with cancer in regional areas. Indeed we note the Opposition’s funding commitment exceeds that of the Government’s earlier this week. The Morrison Government committed $45.5 million from the Federal Budget to help fund radiation therapy for regional parts of Australia in their Tuesday Budget.
Radiation therapy is still under-used in the fight against cancer, and this announcement goes some way to closing the gap for regional cancer patients so that they can benefit from better outcomes during their treatment.
A lack of radiation therapy means higher mortality rates, avoidable surgeries, long-distance travel and weeks away from home, so RTAG welcomes moves to reduce these negative outcomes for regional cancer patients.
RTAG looks forward to working with the Federal Opposition to plan for the most effective distribution of this money to regional population centres that can service their surrounding areas. RTAG will continue to support improved outcomes for cancer patients in each of the regional locations we have identified as having the greatest need.
Following this announcement, RTAG plans to continue to work with the Opposition, the Federal Government and individual parliamentarians to provide top-level advice on radiation therapy and to promote radiation therapy access in regional Australia.