THERE will be no shortage of community dismay should plans for the opening of Ballarat ‘s Regional Integrated Cancer Centre be delayed due to industrial action.
The $56 million centre, due to open in January next year, promises to provide much needed assistance to those battling cancer – not only in Ballarat but across western Victoria.
The centre would provide specialist medical services to patients and their families, eliminating the need for many people to travel to metropolitan areas to receive treatment. There’s little doubt the centre is long overdue and has significant government and community support.
Therefore the potential of a delay caused by the lack of physicists available to commission state-of-the-art technology at the new centre, and enterprise negotiations, isn’t going to fly with the general public.
While the government and the Medical Scientists Association have been in negotiations, it does seem the parties are a significant way from consensus.
Given the difficult nature of recent negotiations in Victorian between unions and the government, we know that reaching agreement over pay and conditions may not be easy.
This newspaper would expect that the parties can come to an agreement which would not impact on the commissioning of the Ballarat centre, even given the complications which lie underneath the basic negotiations.
Should it fail to do so, it would be to the detriment of those who have already been waiting too long and travelling too far to receive the treatment they need and expect from a health system reported to be one of the world’s best.
If that means the state government ministers, or even the Premier Ted Baillieu, need to get involved, then that’s the sort of leadership which should be encouraged.