HOPES for a south-west integrated cancer care centre could rest with a 30-minute meeting with federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek today in Canberra.
After three years Peter’s Project supporters will at last be able to convey the emotional cost of travelling to Melbourne for radiotherapy treatment and the vital need for a closer alternative.
Speaking to The Standard yesterday ahead of her flight to Canberra, founder Vicki Jellie was clear about the purpose of the 10.30am meeting.
“The personal level is going to come across. We’re ordinary people asking for help,” Ms Jellie said.
“We’re going as the community voice, we’re not going with the view of a hospital or a state government.”
No immediate offers are expected to come out of the meeting with Ms Plibersek, but the delegates hope the face-to-face talks will lay the foundations for a May budget commitment of $10 million.
Today’s meeting hasn’t come about easily. In January, a knock-back by a mid-level bureaucrat after a meeting was sought led to outrage among the region’s Coalition MPs.
Ms Plibersek has since been commended for agreeing to meet today’s delegation, which includes Ms Jellie and group members Vern Robson, Glenys Phillpot, Alan Simpson and South West Healthcare CEO John Krygger.
The whirlwind tour will also include meetings with advisers to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey and health spokesman Peter Dutton.
Also booked for talks are opposition regional health spokesman Dr Andrew Laming and finance spokesman Andrew Robb.
‘Today’s a big step forward, there’s no going back now,” Ms Jellie said.
“Who would have thought three years ago that we would have ended up going to Canberra.”