There has been a cost blowout to the tune of $1.5 million for the Wimmera Health Care Group to be able to provide dialysis and palliative care services for the new Wimmera Cancer Centre.
Mr Mark Knights, Wimmera Health Care Group Acting CEO reaffirmed that, “the cost of the project is currently estimated at $1.5million more than originally anticipated in 2015.”
“We have been working very closely with the State Government on this project since its inception. We reassure the community that we are working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services, we continue to meet with them regularly and recent discussions have included the estimated costs,” said Mr Knight.
“We are confident that by working together we are going to create a Wimmera Cancer Centre incorporating dialysis and community-based palliative care that meets the needs of the community, he said.
“The Government is aware of the importance of the project and the huge amount of effort put in by the community to raise more than $1.2million for the project.”
“The Minister for Health Jill Hennessy told the Wimmera community in May 2016 that her government would allocate extra funding to ensure that the centre will be built,” he said.
The Federal Government promised $1 million toward the centre and the State Government also committed $1 million to the project. The community was going to raise the other $1 million towards the estimated $3 million project. Wimmera Health Care Group have now estimated that they will need $4.5 million to fund the centre.
Now that there is an extra $1.5 million required the Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is asking the Health Minister to provide the details of the extra funding she promised.
Ms Kealy MP is demanding the Minister for Health makes good on her promise to local people and provide additional funding for the Wimmera Cancer Centre.
Ms Kealy put the question to the Minister in question time last week.
“My question is to the Minister for Health, and the information I seek is: when will the minister provide additional funding of $1.5 million to make the Wimmera Cancer Centre a reality, as promised to the people of the Wimmera at the original funding announcement in Horsham on 13 May 2016?
Ms Hennessy said the government was prepared to allocate extra funding if needed.
‘If you don’t get there, we will’, she said.
‘We’re going to build this. This project is not going to stop if the community fundraising falls short’.
The community has shown outstanding support for this project, having raised in excess of $1.2 million. However, the total cost of the project has increased by $1.5 million and now requires additional funding to ensure that the people of the Wimmera can access cancer treatment, dialysis and palliative care in the high-quality facility that they deserve. ”
Ms Kealy said, “Jill Hennessey looked local cancer patients in the eye while they received treatment, and promised she would provide additional funding to build the Wimmera Cancer Centre if required.”
“It is extremely disappointing that it appears the Minister is reneging on her promise, meaning the Wimmera Cancer Centre which includes cancer treatment, dialysis and palliative care may not be built.
Ms Kealy statement comes despite assurances from CEO Mark Knight that the government will ensure the centre will be built.
“This project must be built to ensure local people can get the medical care and support they need close to home,” she said.
“The community has shown outstanding support for this project, having raised in excess of $1.2 million. I am proud of the outstanding effort by countless local organisations, businesses and individuals who have tirelessly campaigned and fundraised for the Wimmera Cancer Centre,” Ms Kealy said.
Ms Kealy has launched a petition today demanding the Minister for Health makes good on her promise to cancer patients and provide an additional $1.5 million to make the Wimmera Cancer Centre a reality.
Ms Kealy has started the Wimmera Cancer Centre petition and is available from her office.
“The petition will send a clear message to the Minister that she must provide the additional $1.5 million required to build the Wimmera Cancer Centre. We will not accept the Minister breaking her promise to local cancer, dialysis and palliative care patients,” she said.
The Health Minister has 30 days to respond to Ms Kealy’s question.
The Banner had asked Ms Hennessy’s office for a statement in relation to Ms Kealy claim, however they had not responded prior to going to press.