The Gunner Labor Government is holding up the delivery of a much-needed positron emission tomography (PET) scanner that the Coalition promised at the federal election, Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said today.
“The Coalition committed $15 million to deliver life-saving medical equipment to the people of Darwin, Palmerston and the wider Northern Territory community,” Senator Scullion said.
“The Coalition stands ready to deliver on this commitment but is being held up by the Gunner Government, despite what the Member for Solomon, Luke Gosling, would have people believe.
“Luke Gosling said on ABC radio earlier this week the Commonwealth was holding up the PET scanner but unfortunately the people of Darwin are being misled and let down by their local member.
“The delivery of this important project – and the Commonwealth funding for it – has been put on hold because the Gunner Government delayed submitting project plans and is now seeking to reduce the investment in this important health infrastructure.
“The Coalition’s $15 million commitment includes both a PET scanner and a cyclotron machine but the Gunner Government has only agreed to the delivery of the PET scanner despite Commonwealth funding being on the table for a cyclotron machine that would support better health care for Territorians.
“I call on Mr Gosling and the Gunner Government to support the Coalition’s commitment to deliver these two machines that will increase cancer treatments and serve as a valuable diagnostic tool for other medical conditions, such as heart disease.”
A PET scanner enables doctors to conduct imaging to test for diseases, especially cancers. These diagnostic tests use a special tracer agent known as a radiopharmaceutical. A cyclotron is the equipment used to manufacture this radiopharmaceutical.
“Mr Gosling needs to get his facts right before he makes misleading claims about these important matters – and a good first step would be speaking to the responsible Minister, the Minister for Regional Development, Fiona Nash, as this is being delivered through the Community Development Grants programme which funds community infrastructure projects across Australia,” Senator Scullion said.
“I also call on Mr Gosling to advocate for the delivery of the full project – both the PET scanner and the cyclotron – as any local member should.
“Having a PET scanner and cyclotron in Darwin would mean patients would be able to remain closer to their loved ones and not have to travel interstate for treatment – an outcome Mr Gosling and Territory Labor should support.
“It appears Mr Gosling and Territory Labor care more about political games than delivering important health machines that will make an enormous difference to the lives of many people across the NT.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the Gunner Government is required to contribute 25 per cent of the costs of the equipment as well as ongoing costs.