Albany cancer centre to open in 2022

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Albany Health Campus.
Camera IconAlbany Health Campus. Credit: Tim Edmunds

Albany’s new cancer treatment facility is still years away, with WA Health Minister Roger Cook revealing its doors are expected to open in early 2022.

Mr Cook confirmed that timeline for Albany’s planned $20 million radiation oncology ward in State Parliament last week.

He revealed the State had completed its feasibility study for the proposal and was preparing a business case.

If the business case is successful, construction of the facility at Albany Health Campus could start in late 2020 or early 2021.

Once it is operational, the Albany Health Campus oncology ward will be the only one of its kind in the Great Southern.

The closest facilities to Albany are in Bunbury and Perth.

Mr Cook’s timeline frustrated O’Connor MP Rick Wilson, who said the wait was too long for people living with cancer.

“It is disappointing,” he said.

“While I am pleased we were able to move the radiation machine to the Albany Health Campus so that it is more accessible to people, it is unfortunate that the WA Government has and continues to drag its heels on this vital project.”

The Albany oncology unit project has already been more than two years in the making.

In July, 2017, the Federal Government awarded $6.6 million to Genesis Cancer Care to develop a treatment facility in Albany.

However, a year later the organisation reached out to the State Government for support with constructing a radiation facility, which later came with a $13 million price tag.

The State this year confirmed it would fund construction if its feasibility study and business case came back positive.

Mr Cook refuted the suggestion the State was working slowly.

He called the Albany oncology unit a priority project.

“If anything, work on the feasibility study and business case hsa occurred quickly and I have made it known to the WA Country Health Service that this project needs to be given priority and attention because it is important,” he said.

“This is not like buying a fridge - you can’t just go out, buy a (linear accelerator) machine and plug it in. It is a complex and multifaceted capital infrastructure project, with a bunker needing to be built, and engineering upgrades.

“It’s a large amount of taxpayer money ($13 million) so we need to ensure due process is followed and reflects responsible financial management.”

Cancer was the second leading cause of avoidable death in the Great Southern from 1997 to 2007, according to the WA Country Health Service.

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