A five-year promise by the Andrews Labor Government to build a National Proton Beam Therapy Centre, now at $400 million, is still under a cloud following questions at Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates hearings.
Asked specifically about the centre, which would benefit Victorian children with cancer the most, the Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Jaala Pulford appeared oblivious to the commitment and couldn’t provide any details on why the promise was not in the budget.
$7 million has been spent on planning and a business case, and a further $45 million has now been removed from the budget books with the Minister unable to confirm if the money was even in contingency funding.
In July 2016, both the then Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy and Parliamentary Secretary, Frank McGuire spent more than $65,000 travelling the world looking at other Proton Beam Therapy Centres.
In April 2018, Daniel Andrews expanded his original promise, claiming his government would build a $400 million National Proton Beam Therapy Centre at Parkville to treat children with brain cancer.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier:
“Yet again we find another project where Daniel Andrews has made a grand announcement before an election and then moved it into the too-hard basket afterwards.
“Victoria was too slow in planning, too slow in developing a business case and too slow in securing additional funding, losing out to South Australia.
“The Minister failed to give any assurances regarding the future of the centre, it is now up to Daniel Andrews to let Victorians know whether his commitment to state-of-the-art cancer treatment still stands.”