Recently, Troy Grant, State Member for Dubbo, and Mark Coulton, Federal Member of Parkes, announced that with their combined contributions, Dubbo will receive an integrated Cancer Centre, based at Dubbo Base Hospital, valued at $50 million. It was part of Coulton’s election promise to commit $25 million if the coalition won and then Mr Grant stated that State will chip in the other half.
 
It was Rotarians from Dubbo West with assistance from a couple of local doctors which started this project. This project was mainly co-ordinated by Lyn Smith from Rotary Club of Dubbo West, who was a fresh member of the club, and Frances Peters-Little from the Jimmy Little Foundation.
 
Dr Florian Honeyball and Dr Colin McClintock came to the club as guest speakers and suggested that Dubbo Base requires a CT-PET Scanner. It was from there, that the idea came to lobby for an integrated cancer centre be established as part of the hospital redevelopment.
 
The need arose as many individuals in the western NSW area do not seek medical treatment for cancer as the travel from areas such as Bourke to Sydney is costly in time, money and assistance from family. They felt that a city the size of Dubbo and with the facilities of the School of Rural Health (as part of University of NSW), flights, and the upcoming Macquarie Homestay (accommodation for out of town people and their families to stay while receiving medical treatment or seeing specialists) should be adequately provide for this type of service.   
 
A few members from Dubbo West, plus a few members from the community (including Frances Little-Peters of the Jimmy Little Foundation) started to campaign to the politicians. Mark Coulton and Troy Grant heavily supported the idea and assisted them to get the government funding.
 
With assistance of the staff from Mark Coulton’s office, petitions for signatures of supportive community members were distributed throughout the region, from Dubbo and out to Bourke, Brewarrina, and everywhere in between.
 
The notion of an integrated Cancer Centre was given tremendous amount of support by citizens of town both near and far. There were signs all over Facebook stating that “We support the Cancer Centre for Dubbo”. Dubbo’s born and bred Hollywood star, Stephen Peacocke, Albert's very own singing superstar Jason Owen, and celebrities such as Ita Buttrose, Prue MacSween, Julia Morris, and Jonothan Coleman, even gave them support. In total, the organising committee received 46,000 signatures over the 6 months of campaigning (they only needed 20,000 to make it parliament). These signatures were given to Mark Coulton and presented to federal parliament on November 10.
 
The club thanks Lyn Smith for her tireless commitment and work to this project and we can’t wait to see the Cancer Centre when established in stages 3 and 4 of the hospital redevelopment. We also wish to thank the entire public for their support in getting this happening.
 
This is what happens when Rotarians want to make a difference in their community and for the people further out west.
 
If you want to find out more, go to the Facebook page.