Member for Parkes Mark Coulton presented a petition with more than 45,000 signatures to the federal Parliament on Thursday to demonstrate the support for the Western New South Wales integrated cancer care centre.
Mr Coulton said each of the 45,961 signatures proved there was overwhelming support for the cancer care centre in Dubbo.
While funding had already been committed to the centre, including $25 million from the federal government, the presentation of the petition was symbolic of the region’s unwavering commitment to see the project become a reality, he said.
The Western NSW integrated cancer care centre will be built in stages 3 and 4 at Dubbo Base Hospital at a cost of more than $50 million and is expected to be completed in 2019.
Mr Coulton said the petition was part of a campaign that had grown to become something bigger than anyone could have imagined and spread far beyond Dubbo.
“Every now and then in your life you get to be part of something that grows and becomes bigger than anyone could ever imagine,” he told Parliament.
“Earlier this year I was approached by a delegation led by the West Dubbo Rotary Club, clinicians Dr Honeywell and Dr McClintock, and other health professionals from Dubbo Base Hospital, and representatives from the Aboriginal community through the Jimmy Little Foundation, pushing for a cancer care centre in Dubbo.
“A small band of helpers, led by Lyn Smith, distributed the petitions right through Western NSW in towns like Bourke, Brewarrina, Nyngan, Cobar, Gilgandra, Coonabarabran and other places with the end result being the presentation of the petition to the Australian Parliament.”
Mr Coulton acknowledged the tireless efforts of Lyn Smith and Jimmy Little Foundation trustee Frances Peters-Little, who travelled to Canberra to witness the presentation of the petition.
He told Parliament of the many reasons the cancer care centre was intrinsic to the region’s health care facilities.
“It is important for the people of western New South Wales to travel to Dubbo, where they have family connections, for treatment rather than make the arduous journey to Sydney” Mr Coulton said.