Delivering Better Cancer Care

What the Government is doing to tackle cancer

Cancer affects hundreds of thousands of Australian families at any given time: 100,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed, and around 40,000 people die from various forms of this disease every year.

Page last updated: 07 April 2010

Over the last three years, the Australian Government has committed over $2 billion to build a world-class cancer care system. All cancer patients, their families and carers, our doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, will benefit from this significant investment, regardless of their type of cancer, who they are, or where they live and work in Australia.

Establishing new infrastructure

The most significant feature of the new world-class cancer care system is the establishment of substantial new cancer infrastructure. The Government has committed $1.3 billion over six years to improving Australia’s cancer infrastructure.

Building integrated cancer centres

The Government is providing infrastructure funding of $526 million to build two Integrated Cancer Centres in Sydney and Melbourne:
  • Lifehouse at RPA: the Chris O’Brien Cancer Centre in Sydney has received an additional $100 million in the 2009-10 Budget, on top of the $50 million committed in the 2008–09 Budget; and
  • the Parkville Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Melbourne will receive $426 million from the Commonwealth Government, as part of a project jointly funded by the Victorian Government.

These centres will function as a national resource to improve cancer control for all Australians and will, at a minimum provide a range of services and facilities, including:
  • state-of-the-art facilities: multidisciplinary clinical care encompassing diagnostic services, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, wellness facilities and support services (including post-treatment support);
  • high quality cancer research: successful, innovative and comprehensive peer-reviewed research at a basic, clinical and population level will be conducted at these two Integrated Cancer Centres, and rapid translation of this research to cancer care will help to improve patient care;
  • training, education and mentoring: will be provided to cancer health professionals and research staff across a broad range of cancer services;
  • linking public and private: collaborative linkages across both the private and public sectors with other cancer services and regional cancer centres;
  • expertise in treating rare and complex cancers: a high level of cancer sub‑specialisation, supported by multidisciplinary teams of health professionals delivering best practice care; and
  • effective governance structures: linking integrated cancer centres with other cancer care centres, through strong institutional and funding support.

Integrated Cancer Centres will foster excellence and be a major boost to cancer research in this country. To bolster Australia’s research capacity, the Government has also invested $70 million to expand the Garvan/St Vincent’s Cancer Centre in Sydney, which will focus on research excellence in cancer care.

Regional Cancer Centres

In addition to investing in Integrated Cancer Centres in Sydney and Melbourne, the Government is investing $560 million from the Health and Hospitals Fund for a network of new and enhanced regional cancer centres. Regional cancer centres and associated accommodation
facilities will be located across Australia.

Regional Cancer Centres will help to close the gap in outcomes for cancer patients living in rural, regional and remote communities, something key cancer and patient stakeholder groups have long been calling for.

Regional cancer centres will align with state and territory cancer plans and will focus on identified patient treatment gaps. They will be part of a collaborative network of linked private and public services – both locally and nationally – to provide quality multidisciplinary care for patients. Links between regional cancer centres and specialised metropolitan care will ensure that cancer treatment will continue to be given at the most appropriate location, depending on the type and complexity of the tumour and the patient’s individual circumstances.

Regional Cancer Centres will enable Australians in rural and regional communities to receive care closer to home and their community – which will help to improve treatment outcomes, and make the cancer journey for many rural patients much less difficult.

This investment will fund around 20 regional cancer care projects around the country – including approximately eight new regional cancer centres, seven upgrades to existing facilities, and four patient accommodation projects

On 7 April 2010 the Government announced eight successful projects for RCC funding.
These projects are listed below:

Name and Locations of Regional Cancer Centre/ Project Main Equipment/Facilities to be provided Funding
New England and North West Regional Cancer Centre

Tamworth, Armidale, (servicing North Western NSW)

  • 1 linear accelerator (Tamworth)
  • 2 radiation oncology bunkers (Tamworth)
  • 6 chemotherapy chairs (4 at Tamworth and 2 at Armidale)
  • 14 accommodation places for patients and carers (Tamworth)
  • 1 computed tomography (CT) scanner (Tamworth)
Ballarat Regional Cancer Centre

Ballarat (servicing the Grampians region)

  • 2 linear accelerators
  • 4 radiation oncology bunkers
  • 16 chemotherapy chairs
  • 1 computed tomography (CT) scanner
Expansion of Gippsland Cancer Care Centre

Traralgon (servicing the Gippsland region)

  • 1 linear accelerator
  • 1 radiation oncology bunker
  • 16 chemotherapy chairs/beds
Stage 2 Accommodation Gippsland Cancer Centre

Traralgon West (servicing Gippsland)

  • 9 accommodation places for patients and carers (Traralgon)
Statewide Enhancements to Regional Cancer Centres

Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon, Albury-Wodonga

  • 1 positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scanner(Albury-Wodonga)
  • Up to 31 accommodation places for patients and carers (Ballarat and Bendigo)
  • Installation of Information and Communications Technology equipment
Townsville and Mt Isa Integrated Regional Cancer Service

Townsville and Mt Isa (servicing North Queensland)

  • 2 linear accelerators (Townsville)
  • 3 radiation oncology bunkers (Townsville)
  • 26 chemotherapy chairs/beds (Townsville)
  • 1 positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scanner (Townsville)
  • 3 chemotherapy chairs/beds (Mt Isa)
Strengthening Cancer Services in Regional WA

Albany, Northam, Narrogin, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie

  • 28 chemotherapy chairs
  • 21 accommodation places for patients and carers
South West Health Campus Bunbury (servicing South West WA)
  • 12 chemotherapy chairs/beds
  • 12 accommodation places for patients and carers
  • 1 positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scanner

The Government will announce the remaining successful Regional Cancer Centre projects in the near future.