FEDERAL Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, welcomes the announcement of Federal Government funding to guarantee critical regional domestic flight network, including the Mildura to Melbourne route.
“Today’s announcement is a great result for local patients in need of treatment in Melbourne for health issues including cancer or cardiology needs,” Dr Webster said.
“The issue of access to care is one of equity for residents across Mallee. I have been working every day to secure these important flights since airlines began reducing their services, collaborating with the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, in order to ensure regional patients have equitable access to essential care in Melbourne.
“I made it clear to the Deputy Prime Minister that access to healthcare for these patients was vital, and that we needed to work quickly to find a solution to this issue.
“I was contacted by Sunraysia Cancer Resources group a few weeks ago, highlighting the need of these flights, as patients with life threatening conditions such as brain tumours, have had to postpone radiotherapy treatment because of the cancellation of services by regional airlines.”
Sunraysia Cancer Resources Business Manager Diana Newman said, “Working with patients through this difficult time has been extremely hard, trying to ensure people in need get the care they require. The announcement of these flights returning is a great relief to many patients.
“It is a privilege to be able to help people in their time of need, people who have been incredibly stressed but have remained gracious I want to thank Anne Webster for the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes to get these flights returned”.
Qantas and Virgin Australia will operate a minimum domestic network servicing the most critical metropolitan and regional routes in Australia thanks to a significant investment from the Federal Government of up to an initial $165 million.
Today’s announcement will see Qantas flights return to Mildura from next Tuesday, allowing for two regular return flights a week for these patients. These flights will also help local residents who have recently returned from overseas to travel back to their homes in regional areas.
“I have been working closely with locals and their families who have found themselves stranded in places such as India, Ecuador and Guatemala.
“This investment will also help Australians who have returned from overseas and have completed their mandatory 14 day quarantine to complete their journey home safely.” Dr Webster said.