Australian Cancer Plan 2023-2033

The Australian Cancer Plan

The Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, has invited Cancer Australia to develop a modernised Australian Cancer Plan. This recognises the need for an overarching national approach to cancer control that meets the needs of all Australians now and in the future, and is an opportunity to identify and address critical issues in cancer control that need collaborative, coordinated and national action.

Underpinned by the best available evidence, expert knowledge and patient stories, the Australian Cancer Plan aims to make the vision of world-class cancer outcomes and experience a reality for all Australians. The Australian Cancer Plan will be a 10-year plan for national action, with 2-, 5- and 10-year priorities and goals.

A key component of the Australian Cancer Plan is to reduce variation in a person’s risk of developing cancer, their experiences during diagnosis and treatment, and their survival that are influenced by where they live, their background and personal circumstances, and the type of cancer they have.

The Australian Cancer Plan will be designed for use by governments, policy makers, service planners, cancer organisations and research funders. It will work alongside existing state / territory cancer plans and other health and social care strategies, plans and frameworks. Its implementation will require collaborative effort across all stakeholders.

Cancer Australia will deliver the Australian Cancer Plan to the Minister for Health and Aged Care in April 2023.

Read more about the Australian Cancer Plan Ministerial Round Table.

View a video explaining the Australian Cancer Plan

Current Stages of Development:

1.       Calls for submissions for consultation on Draft Plan – Call made in December 2021.

2.       TOGA’s submission to the Australian Cancer Plan Consultation – Submitted February 2022.

3.       Workshops with defined stakeholder groups.

4.       Release of Draft Plan and calls for feedback – Call made on 3rd of November 2022.

5.       TOGA’s submission of feedback in response to the Draft Plan – Submitted December 2022.

6.       Incorporation of feedback and finalization of Australian Cancer plan – Ongoing.

TOGA's submission to the Australian Cancer Plan Consultation

TOGA’s submission centred around the following key themes

  • Investment in research and innovation is necessary to improve cancer care and provides high returns in downstream cost savings


  • Clinical trials should feature as routine care in cancer care


  • Appreciable gains in cancer survival will not be made without specifically addressing lung cancer survival, as lung cancer is the cancer that claims the most Australian lives


  • Data and public health burden should drive the allocation of funding to research and improving quality care

Research funding to specific tumour sites 2016-2018 versus burden of disease (DALYs)

From Cancer Australia. Cancer Research in Australia 2016 to 2018. Opportunities for strategic research investment. Read full report by clicking on above image

TOGA identified the following to ensure that people with lung cancer receive equitable and leading care

  • A national lung cancer clinical quality registry to reduce unwarranted variation and drive improvements in care. Hear our podcast #17 on this unmet need.
  • A commitment to a national Lung Cancer Screening Program
  • Every person with lung cancer must have access to an appropriately resourced multidisciplinary care team
  • 150 additional lung cancer nurses to be appointed during the lifetime of the Australian Cancer Plan
  • Routine collection of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) to identify people with lung cancer that are most in need of support services with tailored provision
  • Facilitation of palliative care in a range of settings to appropriately embed palliative care in all types of cancer care, but particularly for lung cancer, as it carries a high symptom burden
  • A set of coordinated principles underpinning best practice in survivorship care for all cancers, but particularly recognising the unique needs for people with lung cancer
  • Availability of molecular testing for all people diagnosed with lung cancer
  • Embedding clinical trials in routine cancer care and facilitating their conduct by providing funding and access to medicines for investigator-initiated clinical trials that are conducted by TOGA and similar groups in other areas of cancer care
  • A commitment to telehealth and teletrials and streamlining of jurisdictional differences to facilitate national implementation

Read TOGA’s submission

TOGA’s submission of feedback in response to the Draft Plan

We congratulate Cancer Australia on the rigorous consultation process undertaken to develop the First

Australian Cancer Plan for implementation over the next 10 years. The Draft Plan identified six strategic objectives for Cancer Australia:

  1. Maximising Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
  2. Enhanced Consumer Experience
  3. World Class Health Systems for Optimal Care
  4. Strong and Dynamic Foundations
  5. Workforce to Transform the Delivery of Cancer Care
  6. Achieving Equity in Cancer Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We agreed with the 6 strategic objectives used to describe transformative cancer care. Our feedback identified the following mechanisms to increase the likelihood of achieving these objectives and delivering better outcomes for the next decade and beyond:

  1. Maximising Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
    • Increased efforts on highlighting modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, vaping and weight management, that can be addressed by Australians to maximise cancer prevention.
    • Set more ambitious standards on meeting air and fossil fuel emission targets given the impact environmental factors such as air pollution and catastrophic weather events can have on cancer development.
  1. Enhanced Consumer Experience
    • Education and resources are developed through co-design with consumers to ensure personalised models of navigation in cancer care are widely available to all Australians affected by cancer. To address the scale of resource required, communities most at risk should be identified and culturally resourced ‘hubs’ servicing broad geographical areas be implemented where information can be disseminated and accessed in a culturally appropriate manner.
  1. World Class Health Systems for Optimal Care
    • In order to achieve a national framework for comprehensive cancer care it is important to isolate network areas that already exist in cancer care, identify the gaps and build upon the existing infrastructure. Furthermore, accountability for cancer centres should be achieved through formal accreditation processes that define levels of care that exist in their service, encourage hospitals to fill identified gaps by proposing formal links with other health services e.g., cardiothoracic surgery.
    • Increased funding for national collection of quality care indicators in order to drive improved performance.
    • More ambitious and specific goals to improve survivorship services.
  1. Strong and Dynamic Foundations
    • Increased funding for clinical trials and recognition as an essential component of high-quality cancer care. Accreditation should include performance evaluation to ensure research performance is maintained and the clinical trial workforce is supported.
    • Routine screening of patients for high levels of unmet need and subsequent allocation of resources should be implemented within 2, and not 5 years.
  1. Workforce to Transform the Delivery of Cancer Care
    • In addition to workforce modelling to identify and strengthen current and future areas in need of quality-of-care improvements, it is necessary to establish and support the careers of the clinical trials workforce to maximize the retention of staff at clinical trials centres.
    • Better recognition of the role of primary care in care coordination, specifically in supporting access to survivorship services.
  1. Achieving Equity in Cancer Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
    • A more ambitious approach for improved outcomes within the next 5 years. Within the next two years the focus should be to implement and embed the standards for a culturally safe workplace that have already been published through numerous resources. The healthcare system has a responsibility to provide a culturally competent workforce that provides a welcoming and respectful environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

We thank Cancer Australia for the opportunity to submit a feedback response and look forward to providing similar input on how many of these activities are best achieved. A commitment to resourcing and agreed activities is integral to the success of the Australian Cancer Plan.

Read TOGA’s full feedback submission