Gillard Government Funds Fight Against Cancer

The 2013-14 Budget delivers a new cancer care package – World Leading Cancer Care – as part of the Australian Government’s continued investment in the fight against cancer.

Page last updated: 19 February 2014

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14 May 2013

The 2013-14 Budget delivers a new cancer care package – World Leading Cancer Care as part of the Gillard Government’s continued investment in the fight against cancer.

“Australia’s cancer patients now have the best overall survival rates in the world – and our new cancer package will continue to improve the lives of all Australians touched by cancer,” Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, said.

World Leading Cancer Care will make investments in cancers including breast, cervical, prostate, lung and bowel cancer to ensure that we continue to set the international benchmark.

“Our new package invests more than $226 million in detection, prevention and cancer care and support services. This new investment is on top of the unprecedented $3.5 billion investment to combat cancer since 2007,” Minister Plibersek said.

“Critically ill patients waiting for bone marrow transplants will have a better chance to get life-saving help. Around 280 critically ill patients are expected to be approved for the Bone Marrow Transplant Program in 2013-14.”

Patients will continue to access affordable chemotherapy drugs building on 32 new or amended medicines that have been listed for 15 cancers since 2007. New funding for CanTeen, the Australian organisation for young people living with cancer, will support a national network of specialist services for 12-24 year olds who are living with cancer.

Funding for the successful McGrath Foundation will continue and extend the Foundation’s Breast Care Nurses initiative, expanding the number of Government funded nurses from the current 44 to up to 57.

“Outcomes have improved dramatically over the past 20 years and this funding demonstrates the Government’s unwavering commitment to building a world-class cancer care system for all Australians,” Minister Plibersek said.

The Budget provides –

    • $55.7 million to expand the Breastscreen Australia program to increase participation by women aged 70 to 74 ensuring more women are testing for breast cancer as they get older, because we know that early detection is the key to saving lives.
    • $18.5 million for the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centres Program - including funding of $5.5 million to the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre located at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney, and continuing funding to Centres at the Epworth Hospital, Melbourne ($6.2 million) and the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane ($6.2 million). This will mean improved testing, diagnosis and treatment for people with prostate cancer.
    • $19.5 million over the next 4 years for the Breast Care Nurses Initiative to expand the number of Commonwealth funded McGrath Breast Care Nurses from 44 to 57. Since the inception of the Breast Care Nurses initiative, more than 11,073 women diagnosed with breast cancer and their families have been supported by a Commonwealth-funded McGrath breast care nurse.
    • $18.2 million to CanTeen to expand support for youth cancer services. Around 1,000 young people are diagnosed with cancer each year.
    • $5.9 million to continue to improve outcomes for people with lung cancer, with Cancer Australia working to deliver best practice cancer care, research and national reporting of lung cancer data.
    • $16.1 million in increased funding for the life-saving National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. This funding will ensure timely screening for all eligible Australians aged 50, 55 and 65. 60-year-olds will be eligible from 2013-14 and 70-year-olds from 2015-16.
    • $23.8 million in additional funding for the Bone Marrow Transplant Program. This will enable eligible patients to get life-saving tissue transplants used to restore cells destroyed by cancer treatment.
    • $36.5 million to enable the Victorian Cytology Service to continue its nationally recognised work in cervical cancer screening – including providing cervical screening services to around 300,000 women a year.
    • Up to an additional $29.6 million in interim funding to increase the fees paid to pharmacists for preparing and dispensing chemotherapy medicines while a review of chemotherapy arrangements is undertaken. Current dispensing fees – $76.37 – will be increased by $60 from 1 July and ending 31 December to ensure services continue to be viable and available while the review is undertaken. Prices paid by patients for chemotherapy medicines under the PBS will not change.
    • $2.4 million to collect cancer data and benchmark cancer control efforts.
“We are continuing the vital work we began five years ago to ensure people can access early detection, treatment and quality care, where and when they need it,” Minister Plibersek said.

The Gillard Government is protecting the basic services like health and ensuring Australians have access to the best cancer treatment in the world. This is in stark contrast to Tony Abbott who plans to cut health spending to the bone.

We are investing for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on.

For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220