A serious side to Undies 500
Cook MP Jason O’Brien said today he had enjoyed participating in the Port Douglas Undie 500 Fun Run on the weekend. “It was a bit of fun,” he said. “But there is also a serious side to it.
“It is no fun for thousands of Queenslanders to have to travel far from their homes and their friends and family to get medical treatment that is not available locally.”
This year’s Undies 500 supports Port Douglas resident Sue Polson, who is in Townsville for medical treatment. “There are many, many people in the Far North who are in the same situation, and I am trying to do what I can to help all of them by getting some action on the State Government’s Patient Travel Subsidy scheme".
“I am supporting a group in Mossman-Port Douglas, Pink in the Tropics, which is lobbying the Government to increase the scheme’s $30 a night meals and accommodation subsidy". “I hope my participation in the Undie 500 brings this effort to the attention of the public and the media.”
Pink in the Tropics is collecting signatures for a petition to Parliament, sponsored by Mr O’Brien, to increase the accommodation allowance. “People in my electorate, and of course other rural and remote communities across Queensland, regularly have to travel for specialised treatment and they often find it very difficult financially, on top of the understandable distress they go through".
“So any increase in the subsidy, which has not increased in 21 years, would be a big help right across rural Queensland.” Mr O’Brien said an increase in the subsidy would be in line with other steps the Bligh Labor Government is taking to help patients who have to travel for treatment.
These include the $200,000 seed funding allocated recently to the Red Cross and the Cancer Council for accommodation for patients travelling to Cairns for treatment. The Government is also streamlining its processes for dealing with patient travel and accommodation under the PTTS scheme.
The scheme, which is administered by individual pubic hospitals, helps Queenslanders get specialist medical services that are not available in their local area by subsidising the cost of transport and accommodation.
The e-petition, entitled The need to increase the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme accommodation allowance can be found at: www.parliament.qld.gov.au/view/EPetitions_QLD/CurrentEPetitions.aspx?LIndex=1
To learn more about Pink in the Tropics, visit their website on www.pinkinthetropics.org