A DATE has finally been locked in for federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to hear pleas for a south-west integrated cancer care centre.
Confirmation was received this week that Ms Plibersek would grant Peter’s Project campaigners a 30-minute timeslot when they fly in to Canberra for a round of talks later this month.
Ms Plibersek will come to the table with Peter’s Project director Vicki Jellie on March 20 to hear the disadvantage faced by cancer sufferers across the region. Ms Jellie said a submission would be sent to the minister’s office next week ahead of the meeting date. Wannon MP Dan Tehan welcomed the news after previously voicing outrage when a meeting request was turned down by a mid-level bureaucrat in January.
“It’s a pleasing outcome for Peter’s Project. Now we hope that Tanya Plibersek is prepared to listen and prepared to reconsider,” Mr Tehan said.
“Obviously there are competing health needs being put to the government the whole time so we need to make sure that our voice is constantly heard.”
The MP is also arranging meetings with the Coalition treasury and finance spokesmen, Joe Hockey and Andrew Rob to discuss committing funds to the centre ahead of this year’s federal election.
Meanwhile, campaigners’ spirits have been lifted after the government announced it would fund a cancer care centre in Tasmania — from outside the standard Health and Hospital Fund (HHF).
The Victorian government applied to the HHF for cancer centre funding last year but was knocked back.
“It has set a big precedent,” Mr Tehan said.