PETER’S Project campaigners will seek a last-minute funding promise from Victorian Health Minister David Davis in Warrnambool this week before jetting to Canberra next month for a round of federal talks.
The health minister is due to arrive in the south-west tomorrow morning to officially cut the ribbon on the $26 million South West Healthcare community health redevelopment.
Supporters of Peter’s Project have secured a 30-minute meeting with the minister to seek assurances that Spring Street will still commit a further $10 million towards the $25m integrated cancer centre.
Peter’s Project director Vern Robson said Victoria had already committed $5 million to radiotherapy.
“We’re hoping we will have around 30 minutes to have an update on whether the government is looking at tenders for the radiotherapy installation,” Mr Robson said.
“Most people who need radiotherapy require treatment for five days a week for seven weeks.” He said hopes remained that both levels of government would contribute $10m each to house radiotherapy and provide extra oncologists and specialist staff needed to run the service.
Cancer sufferers must now travel to Geelong for specialist care after the south-west’s only two oncologists were forced to close their books because of three-month waiting times.
“Once we have a definite date for when radiotherapy will open it will make it easier to recruit additional oncologists and that’s what we’ll be raising with the minister,” Mr Robson said.
He said the briefing will underpin talks on March 20 with federal opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton and treasury spokesman Joe Hockey.
Despite confirmation that Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek will meet with Peter’s Project, the group is yet to receive any official acknowledgement from Canberra offices promising a date.
“We haven’t had any official communication, which is disappointing,” Mr Robson said.