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Cancer Council launches ‘Vision for Change’

The Cancer Council’s “Saving life: Vision for Change” campaign was launched at the St John’s Church markets on Saturday. Pictured are local Cancer Council advocate Melanie Trethowan and Member for Dubbo and Deputy Premier Troy Grant.The Cancer Council’s “Saving Life” campaign was launched at the St John’s Church markets on Saturday and both community members and state election candidates dropped in to share their views.

Country Labor candidate for Dubbo Stephen Lawrence lends his support to the Cancer Council’s “Saving Life: Vision for Change” campaign on Saturday.

“Saving Life: Vision for Change” outlines five opportunities the organisation says the next State Government can take to help beat cancer.

These include addressing the sale of tobacco, improving cancer services for Aboriginal people, addressing chemotherapy co-payments, co-ordinating access to care, and increasing palliative care services.

Cancer Council advocate Melanie Trethowan said discussions with members of the public at the stall on Saturday showed that the issue for this area is the disparity in treatment.

“It’s been a really interesting exercise in that the personal stories that have been shared with us today have really highlighted the inequities of getting cancer in a rural area versus in the city,” she said.

The chemotherapy co-payment issue has been a topical issue since the Labor party promised to scrap the payment if elected.

Member for Dubbo and Deputy Premier Troy Grant dropped into the Cancer Council stall on Saturday and said that his party is looking into removing it as well.

“People already have enough to worry about battling the disease without the additional financial impost and in regional areas that extends to travel and absence from families to access care,” he said.

“In 2013, co-payments of a rate between $150-$400 which have been reduced to $6.30-$39.50, but we are now examining opportunities to remove the co-payment for all areas – not just cancer – in public hospitals.”

Mr Grant also praised the work of the Cancer Council.

“The Cancer Council do an amazing job of clearly and articulately bringing the issues to government’s attention,” he said.

“I’ve worked closely with the Cancer Council Western Region MP liaison officer in my electorate over the last three years on a number of initiatives and this is the second time I’ve caught up [local Cancer Council advocate] Melanie Trethowan and I look forward to catching up regularly to continue to fight the good fight.”

Country Labor candidate for Dubbo, Stephen Lawrence, said his party had made its commitment which will be particularly beneficial to country areas.

“Labor’s already committed to abolishing the chemotherapy co-payment – that’s a $6 million commitment, ” he said.

“I think that’s a really important and practical policy, particularly for country people who very often have to travel huge distances when they’re diagnosed with cancer, and we have higher rates of cancer in the country.

“This chemotherapy co-payment was a penny pinching charge that only exists in NSW and was introduced by this government in 2012.”

Mr Lawrence added that the Cancer Council’s call for greater palliative care services was another important issue for him as it was an area he had researched since he declared his candidacy.

“The provision of palliative care nurses and specialists in country NSW is nothing short of disgraceful,” he said.

“To under-service regional and remote areas is uneconomical and inhumane.

“If I’m elected as the member for Dubbo it will be one of my top priorities in terms of healthcare.”

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