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Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Page: 5207


Senator CORMANN (3:38 PM) —I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 517 standing in my name by amending paragraphs (d)(iv) and (v) to omit ‘13 May 2008 and 17 August 2009’ and substitute ‘13 May 2008 to 17 August 2009’.

Leave granted.


Senator CORMANN —I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate:

(a)   notes that:

(i)   the government announced during Senate question time on 12 August 2009 that it remains committed to its $100 million budget cut to chemotherapy treatment,

(ii)   the government repeated its assertion that it only wants to fund the ‘actual quantity’ of chemotherapy medicines that are delivered to cancer patients,

(iii)   chemotherapy drugs are delivered in standard vial sizes, while different cancer patients, with different body weights and different physiological requirements will need different dosages of a particular life saving chemotherapy drug,

(iv)   at times a portion of an opened vial will be left unused,

(v)   consistent with Therapeutic Goods Administration requirements any unused portion of an opened vial containing those dangerous chemotherapy drugs has to be discarded and will not be able to be used for any other patient,

(vi)   unless there is a change in vial sizes, no change in government funding arrangements will be able to remove that inefficiency and somebody will have to pay for the $100 million budget cut,

(vii)   this chemotherapy budget cut was part of both the 2008/09 and 2009/10 budgets with an original implementation date of 1 July 2009, deferred to 1 September 2009, and

(viii)   the government still has not been able to come up with a sensible way to implement this ill-considered budget cut;

(b)   is concerned about the potential impact of this budget cut on cancer patients and considers that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding this measure has led to unnecessary concerns for cancer patients, their families and health care professionals involved in the preparation and use of chemotherapy drugs;

(c)   calls on the government to end the ongoing uncertainty as soon as possible; and

(d)   orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing by no later than 12 pm on 19 August, copies of:

(i)   all advice from the Department of Health and Ageing to the Minister for Health and Ageing in relation to the budget measures set out above from 13 May 2008 until 17 August 2009,

(ii)   any modeling conducted within government in the lead up to the announcements of these budget measures and any subsequent modeling undertaken by the government since 13 May 2008,

(iii)   all correspondence between the Minister and/or her Department with State and Territory governments in relation to these budget measures from 13 May 2008 to 17 August 2009,

(iv)   all correspondence between the Minister and stakeholders regarding these budget measures from 13 May 2008 to 17 August 2009, and

(v)   all correspondence between Department and stakeholders regarding these budget measures from 13 May 2008 to 17 August 2009.

Question agreed to.