Public rally to push for radiotherapy unit

THE stage is set for the 'Black Friday or Bust' public meeting to rally support for a Northern Rivers cancer clinic.

It will be held at the Lismore Workers Club from 7pm tomorrow, with a diverse range of speakers putting their name to the 'Cancer Care for the Base' campaign supported by The Northern Star and local community lobby groups.

Joan Roots, from the Country Women's Association (CWA), warns her organisation will be brewing more than tea and cooking up more than scones.

She plans to rally the region's CWA network to get behind petitions aimed squarely at Premier Morris Iemma. She says she's lost faith in the State Health Minister to do anything.

"I believe Lismore is still the centre of the region and the only way to secure a cancer clinic at Lismore Base Hospital is to go to the top," Mrs Roots said.

Stage Two of the Lismore Base Hospital redevelopment includes a radiotherapy unit, but without a start date commitment from the State Government, the Commonwealth will not provide its promised share of financial support.

Currently, patients requiring cancer treatment have no option but to travel north across the border to Queensland.

One of the campaign organisers, Marshall Fittler, is making a plea to the local community to stand up and be counted.

He's urging them to attend the public meeting and hear speakers put forward their case for a cancer clinic.

The area's only oncologist, Dr Adam Boyce, believes it is imperative a commitment is given to Stage Two before the coming Federal election, or the pledge of Commonwealth funding may be retracted.

Other speakers will include a representative from the Rural Doctors' Association. In addition, responses from local politicians, including Ballina MP Don Page and Lismore MP Thomas George, who can't be present, will be read out.

The 'Black Friday or Bust' meeting is expected to run for two hours, and you can find out more by contacting Marshall Fittler on 6624 4879.

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