By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on December 7, 2018
STATE Health Minister Roger Cook has now met with a company that plans to install a radiotherapy machine in Albany after being urged to do so by Federal MP Rick Wilson who recently announced $6.6 million funding for the project.
Mr Cook met with facility provider GenesisCare’s general manager Michael Davis on November 27 regarding the company’s planned machine.
This week, Mr Cook told The Weekender the meeting was “positive” but a range of matters needed to be considered before proceeding.
“GenesisCare have offered to work with the Department of Health and the WA Country Health Service on a feasibility study,” he said.
“Projects of this scale and complexity rightfully demand appropriate financial due diligence to be observed and the feasibility study will need to consider the cost of [a] bunker [to house the machine], the supporting infrastructure and associated service costs.”
Mr Wilson told The Weekender he believes $3 million is the remaining cost to install the machine. He does not agree that $14 million is required, as floated by Mr Cook when he compared the potential cost of an Albany facility to a larger one built in Bunbury nine years ago (‘Cancer cost counted’, 15 November).
“Michael [Davis, Genesis Care] seems very confident that it could be built on Albany Health Campus for around $3 million,” Mr Wilson said.
“$3 million in the State health budget is a very small percentage.
“I hope the Minister expedites this study.”
The meeting follows a two-year campaign for a radiation machine led by Denmark resident Mary Williams.
While pounding the pavement on Albany’s York Street on Tuesday to increase awareness, Ms Williams said the campaign had raised $34,000 thus far.
She said she wanted Mr Cook to know she “won’t be moved”.
“We are coming up to Christmas…wouldn’t it be wonderful for everyone to put down their swords, as true Australians? Labor, Liberal, whatever?” Ms Williams posed.
“We can’t carry on like this…this isn’t about politics, it’s about sick people.
“It breaks my heart to hear stories from people who feel like the Great Southern is left out.”
Mr Wilson said he too would continue to push for the oncology service.
“I don’t think the State Government will want to be on the wrong side of history with this one,” he said.
“It’s not rocket science; the radiation machine itself is rocket science but the 1.8m thick concrete walls needed for the bunker are not.”