I’ve been Working for Wannon to get better health services, including funding for an integrated cancer care centre.

I believe that all Australians should have access to an affordable, quality health care system regardless of whether they live in the city or in the country. Our local health system desperately needs more doctors and nurses. There must be a renewed focus on providing more rural and regional training places for doctors and nurses based in western Victoria and we must improve the incentives for health professionals to work in rural and regional communities.

We also need an integrated cancer centre and Radiotherapy services for western Victoria based in Warrnambool. The Coalition Government has committed $10 million for the centre and the funding is there in the 2013-14 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. The community, through Peter’s Project, has been working hard to secure an integrated cancer centre and, due to the higher mortality rate of cancer cases in rural and regional areas, it is absolutely imperative that the centre be built as soon as possible. It is not acceptable for cancer patients to have to travel for many hours to have cancer treatment in Ballarat or Geelong, away from their loved ones, during such a difficult time.

The former Labor government cut $2.77 million from our local hospital budgets last financial year. In yet another breach of trust, local hospitals were told in the middle of the financial year that the funding which had been guaranteed by the Gillard Government would be taken from them. Hospitals across Wannon were forced to take urgent measures, such as closing operating theatres and reducing services for mental health care.

The former Health Minister’s blatantly false excuse for the cuts was Victoria’s supposed ‘population decline’ but this was not much consolation to our local hospitals who clearly couldn’t afford to have their budgets cut without huge impacts on frontline services.

In the aged care sector the Coalition Government will help the elderly stay in their own homes for as long as they wish to, but where there is a need for aged care we must ensure that our elderly residents have the opportunity to remain in their home communities.

We will negotiate an Aged Care Provider Agreement with the aged care sector which will set the framework for ageing and aged care arrangements in Australia for the next four years. Taking into account the Productivity Commission Caring for Older Australians report, we will reduce needless bureaucracy in the sector while making sure it remains focused on high quality care.

The Coalition will:

  • Support our local hospitals and health care networks
  • Encourage health professionals to work in rural and regional communities
  • Develop an Aged Care Provider Agreement, which will set the framework for better local aged care services in the future