The move will also see an expansion of the McGrath Foundation’s work into other cancer areas.
Federal health minister Mark Butler has announced the biggest ever government investment into the national rollout of a cancer nurses program.
And the McGrath Foundation will play an important role in increasing the ranks of cancer nurses in a move that will see the organisation go beyond its traditional work in the provision of just breast cancer nurses.
Mr Butler said the government was committing $166 million to the newly formed Australian Cancer Nursing and Navigation Program.
This brings the total investment from the 2023-24 Budget to support the implementation of the recently released landmark Australian Cancer Plan to $735.7 million.
The funding will help deliver improved cancer outcomes across Australia, from cancer prevention and early detection through to recovery, treatment, survivorship and end of life care.
The Australian Cancer Nursing and Navigation Program will improve equitable access to high quality, multidisciplinary and integrated cancer services for all people with cancer, irrespective of their type of cancer or where they live, through investment in an additional $74.5 million to support more equitable access to cancer nurses.
As part of the initiative, the McGrath Foundation will build on its well-established model to recruit 100 new all cancer care nurses in health and hospital services across the country.
This will support all people with cancer regardless of their tumour type.
Mr Butler said these nurses would be in addition to the existing 148 Commonwealth-funded melanoma, breast and lung cancer nurses who will work together to support all cancers by 2026-27, resulting in almost 250 Commonwealth funded all cancer care nurses by 2027, all delivered through the McGrath Foundation.
“Cancer nurses are invaluable to patients who are confronting some of their toughest days,” Mr Butler said.
“That’s why the Albanese Government is making the biggest investment in cancer nurses on record, backed by our landmark Australian Cancer Plan.
“More than 164,000 Australians are estimated to be diagnosed with cancer this year and our government is ensuring they have the support in place to get through their diagnosis, no matter where they live or what their cancer type.”
Australian cricket legend Glenn McGrath, co-founder and president of the McGrath Foundation, said the organisation was “incredibly proud to be asked to support the delivery of the government’s Australian Cancer Nursing and Navigation program”.
“When we started the foundation, we hoped we could make a positive difference to just one family,” he said.
“So, we are truly humbled by this announcement and what it means for Australian families going through cancer. My family understands firsthand the incredible difference this care makes, so knowing Australians will soon have access to this care no matter what type of cancer they have, just blows me away.”
The foundation’s chief nurse Kerry Patford welcomed the initiative.
“Cancer nurses recognise that people don’t just need support with cancer treatment, but also for the way cancer impacts the rest of your life,” she said.
“We are incredibly proud of the impact our nurses have had over the past 18 years and look forward to working in partnership with the government to implement this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create equity in cancer care.”