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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3276


Ms O'NEILL (Robertson) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing. How does this budget build a fairer society by investing in Australia's world-leading cancer treatment and research?

Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyMinister for Health) (14:56): I thank the member for Robertson for that question. There is really not an Australian who has not been touched by cancer, who has not suffered it themselves, who has not seen a friend or a family member lost or undergo treatment that may be successful but is so harsh.

Budgets are about choices. They are about alternative visions for the future. So while we have made responsible savings in this budget, we have also made a choice to invest in world-class cancer care. Australia's cancer patients now have the best overall survival rate in the world and we have a plan to build on that success with better research, better prevention, better treatment, more cures and better support for patients and their families. World-leading cancer care will make investments in cancers including breast, cervical, prostate, lung and bowel cancers to ensure that we continue to set the international benchmark. I am not sure why someone finds this funny.

Mrs Griggs interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Solomon is warned!

Ms PLIBERSEK: This new investment is on top of an unprecedented $3½ billion to combat cancer since 2007, like the brand new $39 million cancer centre at the Gosford Hospital which means that patients no longer have to drive to Sydney or Newcastle to get radiotherapy treatments for free. Women aged 69 to 74 will be invited to be part of our breast screening program. We estimate this will pick up an extra 600 cancers a year, and expanded investment in the McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurses will support around 15,000 women and their families over the next four years.

Improved bowel cancer screening over the next four years will see 5.4 million invitations to attend bowel cancer screening and around 1,370 critically ill patients will find it easier to get bone marrow transplants. Patients will have better access to more affordable chemotherapy drugs, helping 50,000 patients over just the next six months, noting that we have added 32 new cancer drugs to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme since 2007. There is new funding for CanTeen, the Australian organisation for young people living with cancer. There is four years more funding for the excellent prostate cancer research centres at Epworth in Melbourne and Princess Alexandra in Brisbane and new funding for the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney, because prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in Australia and the second most common cause of cancer deaths. Lung cancer—the most common form of cancer death—receives $6 million, and there is $36.6 million for cervical cancer. Australians have the best overall cancer survival rates in the world. We want to keep it that way. We have chosen to invest. We have a plan for the future. (Time expired)