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Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5104


Mr NEVILLE (HinklerThe Nationals Deputy Whip) (21:40): In prefacing my remarks tonight I would like to thank the government for two grants to my electorate: one for an oncology cancer unit in Bundaberg—a $5 million project—and one for a $5 million extension to the cardiac facilities at the Friendly Society's Hospital. It is quite a recent unit, which I had the honour of opening a year or so ago. So I suppose I am singularly lucky in the Hinkler electorate that in Bundaberg I have two private hospitals and a base hospital and in Hervey Bay I have a private hospital about to be built—a $100 million hospital—a state hospital and also a day surgical hospital. With that in mind, things look very bright in my electorate.

But I think sometimes we take for granted that the provincial cities are the be-all and end-all of medical services and forget that we need to extend those services right out into even the most remote areas—and we all know the stories of how difficult it is to get doctors into really remote country areas. But then there are other towns that are not cities but are pivotal towns, hub towns, that play an important part in community life. One such town is Childers. Childers is well known, of course, for that dreadful backpacker fire, but it is an absolutely beautiful town, sitting up on the top of the red ridge with its leopard tree lined main street, with a mixture of very modern and colonial shops. It is quite a beautiful place, and it is matched by an equal amount of spirit amongst the people of the town.

What I have seen emerge there, especially in the last five years, is a new style of medical community. I had the privilege this last week to open a new radiological facility and to commission a CAT scanner. A CAT scanner in a town of 6,000 is quite unheard of, but two people in Childers, Jim Burstow and his wife, Clare Fitzgerald, and their team of professionals decided to do that in Childers. They also offer a full range of radiological services, including X-ray and ultrasound. That has meant that Childers has become a hub for places like Gayndah, Biggenden, Torbanlea, Howard and Woodgate, with all those smaller communities coming into Childers. So here we have a town of 6,000 with facilities that some provincial cities do not have and in fact all those that do have them have only got them in reasonably modern times.

We need to realise the necessity of modern medicine at the doorstep of people's lives. We do not look to the effects that remoteness has on people in country towns. When you see people like the Burstows going to the trouble of doing this, you are filled with admiration. It was a great honour to open their new premises and to commission this new tomography machine. I once again thank the government for investment in my area. I like to be bipartisan about health services. I think they are very much appreciated and it gives two levels of great health care in the electorate of Hinkler.