Australian government to enhance imaging technology

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The Australian federal government is spending $65 million ($57.6 million, U.S.) on 13 new medical imaging scanners used to diagnose conditions including stroke and cancer.

Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott said people will be able to have scans under Medicare, and children and pensioners will be bulk-billed.

The MRI units, which will each cost $5 million (4.43 million) over four years, will be spread across the six states. New South Wales is being given four units, and Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia will get two each. Tasmania will get one.

"The new MRI locations have been selected to improve MRI access in under-serviced metropolitan and regional areas," Abbott said.

Abbot said that providers would be chosen based on whether they would bulk-bill patients, their hours of operation and financial considerations. He also said the machines would be ready for use within a year, subject to availability of suitable health providers.