A World-Class Cancer Care System

The Australian Government will invest a record $2 billion to build a world-class cancer care system.

Page last updated: 12 May 2009

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12 May 2009

The Rudd Government will invest a record $2 billion in this year’s Budget to build a world-class cancer care system in Australia.

This major national investment will focus on promoting cutting edge research and dramatically improving cancer outcomes for patients in rural and regional Australia.

It will include building two state-of-the-art Integrated Cancer Centres and a network of regional cancer centres.

There are two key parts of the National Cancer Statement – investing in 21st century cancer infrastructure, and supporting important cancer medicines and care.

Investing in 21st Century Cancer Infrastructure

The Government will invest an unprecedented $1.3 billion over six years in improving Australia’s cancer infrastructure in the following ways:
  • Two Integrated Cancer Centres to provide state-of-the-art cancer treatment combined with cutting edge research, focused especially on treating rare and complex cancers which need national centres to provide appropriate experience for quality care. The new Lifehouse Sydney Cancer Centre at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney will receive $100 million, and the Parkville Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Melbourne will receive $426.1 million. The Government will also provide $70 million to expand the Garvan St Vincent’s Cancer Centre in Sydney to enhance its world-class research capacity.
  • $560 million to build a network of up to ten best-practice regional cancer centres and associated accommodation centres, to help close the gap in outcomes for cancer patients in rural and regional Australia. The centres will be selected following a national tender process open to both the public and private sectors – and may establish new – or enhance existing – regional centres. This will include a centre in Canberra to service the local community and south-east NSW.
  • $120 million to replace BreastScreen Australia’s outdated equipment with state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment. This will replace 205 existing analogue machines around Australia.

Investing in cancer medicines

The Government will invest more than $600 million over the next five years to ensure that people with cancer can get the medicines they need:
  • Avastin®, for people with metastatic colorectal (bowel) cancer, will be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at a total cost of $314.1 million over four years;
  • Sutent®, for people with renal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer, has been added to the PBS at a total cost of $131.1 million over five years; and
  • The Government will continue funding for the Herceptin Program outside the PBS. This program provides Herceptin® for the treatment of people with metastatic breast cancer at a total cost of $168 million over four years.

Improving cancer care

The Government will also make a range of other investments to improve cancer care, research and support for patients:
  • $2.6 million for the Building Cancer Support Networks Program to fund up to 24 new support groups for people with cancer in the first year;
  • $15.1 million to support clinicians, consumers and health organisations across Australia to collaborate more closely on cancer care, building on the successful Cancer Services Network National Demonstration Program;
  • $6.8 million to improve lung cancer care through identifying research and clinical priorities, provide more consistent data and target health professionals to deliver best practice for this deadly cancer; and
  • $4.2 million in a national cancer monitoring centre that will help health professionals and service planners better understand national trends and patterns in cancer including risk factors, diagnoses, health service use and health outcomes.
These investments will build on the more than $270 million invested in fighting cancer in the 2008-09 Budget, which supported initiatives including:
  • the extension and expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program;
  • specialist breast cancer nurses and access to breast prostheses;
  • funding for two prostate cancer research centres, the Children’s Cancer Centre at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre;
  • support for youth cancer networks; and
  • support for radiation oncology services.
For all inquiries please contact the Minister's office – 02 6277 7220