Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Health Matters

WA Labor allocates $100m to tackle cancer

Labor Statement

A McGowan Labor Government will allocate $100million over four years to provide more doctors, nurses and research to tackle cancer, WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said today.

Mr McGowan said WA Labor’s package will include allocations of $45million for more cancer staff, $40million for medical research, $10million for asbestos-related cancer prevention and $5million to help low income earners with cancer related travel.

“The Cancer Council WA estimates that 75,000 Western Australians are living with cancer,” Mr McGowan said

"Our health system is overstretched and our cancer specialty workforce is not keeping up with WA’s rapid population growth and the number of new cases, which is expected to rise by 13,000 next year.

"According to the Cancer Council WA, our medical oncologists have the second-highest caseloads in Australia."

Mr McGowan said WA Labor will allocate $45million over four years to provide more cancer doctors and nurses. This will:

Provide shorter wait lists for specialists;

Produce better outcomes for cancer patients; and

Employ an extra 22 doctors and nurses, including five medical oncologists, three radiation oncologists and eight oncology nurses, by 2016 (employed by the WA Health Department).

“We will also allocate $40million over four years to boost medical research, with a focus on cancer

“As part of this plan, we will develop a 10-year research strategy for Western Australia.

“The strategy will consult scholars, researchers, and medical research stakeholders to agree a long term strategic approach to research in this State.

"Mr McGowan said boosting medical research will help to:  

Attract and retain top cancer specialists;

Stop the brain drain of our young cancer specialists to other States;

Develop the skills of our cancer workforce; and

Result in better treatment for Western Australian cancer patients.

“We will also allocate $10million over four years to preventing asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer,” he said.

“As part of this we will establish an Office of Asbestos Management in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, which will work with stakeholders to develop a plan to tackle asbestos in our State.

"This will require a whole-of-government approach, including the Department of Education, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of Health, Department of Planning and Building Management and Works.

"This office’s responsibilities will include:

Establishing a register to identify the location and amount of asbestos in WA;

Establishing a process for the safe removal, transportation and disposal of asbestos;

Developing a program to raise community awareness about the risks of asbestos and the potential dangers for home renovators; and    

Establishing the lines of responsibility and identify which government agency is primarily responsible for the management of asbestos

“Further, WA Labor will allocate $5million over four years to help low-income earners who travel for intensive cancer treatments.

“This means-tested program will be administered by the WA Cancer Council, which reports that many low-income earners are not getting cancer treatment because they cannot afford the travel costs.

“WA Labor has better priorities for a better future.”

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