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Transcript 17223

Transcript of doorstop Wollongong

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/04/2010

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 17223

PM: Can I just say how delighted I am to be back here in Wollongong, and to be back again- I was here last year at the time of the economic crisis, and dealing on the challenge of local jobs. And here we're dealing with a challenge concerning the future of our health and hospital system. And a core element of that is getting our cancer services right for people who live in our major regional centres, right around Australia. And I can't think of, frankly, a more major regional centre than here in Wollongong, and here in the Illawarra.

And that's why, together with the Government of New South Wales, we're investing $14.1 million in enhancing cancer services here at the Illawarra Cancer Centre at Wollongong Hospital. What this will purchase- it will include upgrades which include additional infrastructure for outpatient clinics and day oncology, enhanced facilities for haematology and therapies, one additional linear accelerator, one additional radiation bunker, six additional chemotherapy chairs and beds, and medical diagnostic equipment as well.

The bottom line is this - there is a stunning figure in my mind which will not go away. And that is, if you are diagnosed with certain categories of cancer, and if you are treated in rural and regional areas, then the statistics tell us that you are three times more likely to die within five years of diagnosis than most people who live in metropolitan Australia, that is, the capital cities. Now, for Australia, that's not good enough. We actually have to lift the game, right across the country. And that means making sure we've got this sort of state of the art equipment around the country, in as many regional centres as we can.

That's why the Australian Government is now investing more than half a billion dollars in 22 regional centres right across Australia, so that when people get that piece of bad news, that they've been diagnosed with cancer, they don't also have to wrestle, at the same time, with having to travel hundreds, and sometimes thousands of kilometres to get decent treatment. This is about delivering proper cancer services to regional Australia. Wollongong's part of that. And I'd commend all of our local Members here, state and federal, for the strong advocacy they've put in behind the needs of cancer services for the people of the Illawarra. And I'd also acknowledge the contribution which Steve has also made as our local candidate, as well.

TEBBUTT: Thank you. This is great news for the Illawarra. This will allow us to provide more treatments for more people locally here in the Illawarra. We know that rates of diagnosis of cancer are increasing. We're certainly doing better in treatment outcomes, we've seen a reduction in the number of people who die from cancer. But we also know that if people can get the treatment they need locally, close to where they live, close to where their families and friends are, then their health outcomes will be better, and so will their quality of life.

So this is really important for the Illawarra. We're going from two linear accelerators to three linear accelerators- that means about an extra 414 patients will be treated each year. Extra chemotherapy services, and an opportunity to improve the quality of life of people in the Illawarra who need cancer services. So a great example of the Federal and State Governments working in partnership. We welcome the lion's share of the funding coming from the Federal Government, $2 million being put in by the State Government, and great news for the Illawarra.

PM: Okay folks, and before I zip to the airport- if you have any questions, I'll take them, then I will head off.

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd, Ms Keneally said that she could not support the Commonwealth's take-over in its current form, with conditional support for 90 per cent - does that mean this proposal is now dead?

PM: Well let me be very clear about the Australian Government's position on health and hospitals reform. Our policy is outlined in this document, which is the new Health and Hospitals Network for Australia. Let me also be clear about its fundamentals. One, the Australian Government being the majority funder of the public hospital system in the future. Two, the Australian Government taking up 60 per cent of that responsibility. And three, only on that basis will the Australian Government provide the growth in the funding for the hospital system in the future. That's our position. It's pretty clear. And it's a matter for, of course, the Premiers and the Chief Ministers to reach their conclusions on that.

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd, can I ask you about the Young Liberal's comments yesterday- Nick Sowden- about Obama being a monkey. Your reaction to that?

PM: I think - I just think all Australians are sick and tired of various members of the Liberal arty casting slurs on President Obama. Let's leave it at that. People are sick and tired of it.

JOURNALIST: Will there be an announcement forthcoming for Shoalhaven, they've desperately wanted a linear accelerator down there.

PM: Well, we believe that the measures that we've announced here will also extend the reach of cancer-related services to the wider region. We think that this is important for people in the wider region, including the Shoalhaven. But I'd also say this - the job of providing further cancer treatment services for people does not end here, does not end with this announcement. We've actually got to work together in the future as well. Australians everywhere deserve proper access to the best quality cancer treatment services that we can provide.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, why has there been so little detail available to the Premiers on your hospital reform package? And how do you expect them to make a decision?

PM: I'm really glad you asked that question- that is a document of about 74 pages. That's the new National Health and Hospitals Network. This document here is something in the order of about 100 pages. That outlines, in detail, the future funding growth of the system that we, the Australian Government, have put forward. You know something? I think the Australian people are a bit fed up with various politicians finding excuses for delay when working people, pensioners and carers right across the country are crying out for reform.

The last thing I'd say on it is this - that, you know something, on Monday, COAG has to do more than simply come up with a plan for money. It has to come up with a plan for reform, because the blank cheque theory of health and hospitals doesn't work. We've got to fix the system, and then fund the system for the future - more hospital beds, more doctors, more nurses. And folks, having said that, I've got to zip.

Transcript 17223