PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Canberra: I rise to table a 5,000-signature petition for the introduction into Australia of CyberKnife radiotherapy treatment. CyberKnife is a remarkable technology that has the capacity to save or improve the lives of hundreds of people who are suffering from cancer. It provides a precisely targeted robotic-arm radiotherapy treatment so that less damage is done to non-cancerous parts of the body. Importantly, this means that children can receive treatment, whereas under older radiotherapy technologies the damage to non-cancerous tissue is too great for children to receive it. CyberKnife is available in 32 countries around the world and should be available here.
The petition specifically calls for the speedy approval of CyberKnife and similar technologies through the Medical Services Advisory Committee process for the purposes of Medicare rebates. I would particularly like to commend Mr and Mrs Keith and Jenny Slater, who are the lead petitioners and who have led this campaign. They are local residents from my electorate who tragically lost their granddaughter, Kahlia, to a rare type of bone cancer. CyberKnife could have made a significant impact on her battle to survive. I urge the Minister for Health, on behalf of these 5,185 petitioners, to expedite the process so that CyberKnife can be approved for use in Australia. I present the petition.
The petition read as follows—
To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives
This petition of the concerned residents of Australia:
Draws to the attention of the House of Representatives to advanced radiotherapy treatments such as CyberKnife. These have two benefits over existing treatments. First, they deliver far more targeted radiotherapy treatment, significantly minimising the damage to non-cancerous parts of the body. Second, they enable radiotherapy to be delivered to some patients who otherwise could not receive radiotherapy, in particular, younger people and some other special cases. CyberKnife is available in 26 countries, including Canada, the UK, Germany and the USA.
We therefore ask the House to call upon the Federal Government to hasten approval of CyberKnife and similar technologies, with the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) for the purposes of Medicare rebates and thereby assist thousands of cancer sufferers in Australia.
from 5,185 citizens.