Eurobodalla has been overlooked for too long when it comes to quality, vital cancer treatment facilities close to home. At the last election the community lobbied hard to secure a local radiation therapy centre and while there was hope with funding being applied for such centres across NSW the South East missed out. Dr Michael Holland, the Member for Bega, has long been an advocate of securing a radiotherapy facility for the South East. The group One Eurobodalla Hospital has also been more than vocal in demanding that the government acknowledge and honour election commitments made. Also applying ceaseless advocacy has been the Federal Member, Fiona Phillips who has been frustrated by the failure of the government to honour its promise and to recognise the health needs of the South East in Gilmore and Eden Monaro. Today the Federal member announced that, "if elected, an Albanese Labor Government will boost cancer services for the Eurobodalla Shire by investing $8 million in a local radiation therapy centre".
Ms Phillips said "We know cancer patients in rural and regional Australia, including in Gilmore, have a lower chance of surviving cancer than metropolitan Australians.
And we know that’s because of unequal access to quality, vital cancer treatment facilities close to home. I am committed to addressing this inequality."
"Scott Morrison broke his promise at the 2019 election to deliver a radiation therapy centre for the Eurobodalla region. As a result, cancer patients and their families in the region are still being forced to travel hours to get treatment in Sydney, Canberra or Nowra.
"Patients like local cancer survivor Cathie Hurst, who was diagnosed with cancer in March 2021, was told she had to choose from accessing treatment in either Canberra or Sydney.
Cathie appeared as a witness to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry in October last year to share her experience and said:
“Travelling meant that I had to be prepared for whether I was going to vomit on a plane, have diarrhoea attacks or anything, which is highly embarrassing and concerning. You get shaky just thinking about can you get on that bus for that long or the train or whatever it was you were taking. The difference between that and actually having a hospital or a facility in your region where you can drive yourself, have your 15-minute radiation treatment and come home—it would make all the difference to people.”
Above: NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns, NSW Shadow Health Minister Ryan Park and Member for Bega Dr Michael Holland MP joined Fiona Phillips, Member for Gilmore, and Cathie Hurst to make today's announcement adjacent to the new Eurobodalla Hospital site.
The promised radiation therapy centre in the Eurobodalla region was intended to service a region of 80,000 people. That promise was never delivered.
The Member for Gilmore said "“I have continued to fight for a radiation therapy centre for the Eurobodalla region since before I was elected, including tabling a community petition in the Australian Parliament.
“I have never lost sight of the immense pain that cancer patients and their families undergo as they are forced to travel long distances for treatment that they should never have to do.
“Thank you to Dr Michael Holland and the community who have continued to fight for what people need.”
Dr Michael Holland, Labor Member for Bega said today “NSW Labor welcomes this announcement from Federal Labor. Access to critical health care in our regions is a top priority for NSW Labor and we have been strong advocates for the Eurobodalla Hospital to open at level four status.”