It was billed a victory for people power.
On October 25 last year, a petition signed by 30,000 Illawarra residents was to be presented to NSW Parliament demanding a PET scanner for their hospital.
But the debate was pre-empted by Member for Kiama Gareth Ward who surprised a busload of people who had travelled to Sydney to witness the tabling of the petition, saying he "wanted to give them that bit of excitement, that little bit of hope".
He announced the government had struck a deal with a private operator, and the scanner would be available to all public in-patients.
The machine that detects cancers and heart and brain disease faster and more accurately than other imaging technology would be installed at Wollongong Hospital, meaning hundreds of patients would no longer need to travel to Sydney every month.
Eight months on, the $3 million positron emission tomography (PET) machine has still not been installed.
Fay Campbell, who worked tirelessly with Illawarra oncologist Professor Philip Clingan to secure the scanner, said it was now time for answers.
"We've got to find out 'Where is our PET machine?' The community deserves to know," Mrs Campbell said yesterday.
"The people of the region, the community, did so much for this campaign and they deserve answers. We still have hundreds of people from the Illawarra travelling to Sydney on a monthly basis."
The NSW government invited tenders last October and said space had been made available at the hospital. Prof Clingan said at the time: "It just goes to show what a win this is for our community."
Yesterday Mrs Campbell said she was committed to "seeing this thing through".
"It was the 25th of October last year [when] the announcement was made. Since then, they estimated that by June we would have that machine in. But nothing. This is not good enough," she said.
Yesterday Mr Ward told the Mercury the new forecast for the machine's installation was within six months.
"Tenders have been received and a recommended tenderer has been selected," Mr Ward said.
"The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District is also required to undertake a comprehensive probity and financial assessment of the recommended tenderer. It is expected to be completed this week."
Mr Ward said once legal contract requirements were finalised the successful tenderer would begin acquisition of the machine from overseas.
"The equipment will need to be purpose-built for Wollongong Hospital in preparation for installation. The health district is preparing the space for the new equipment," he said.