AAMRI congratulates new Minister for Health

AAMRI congratulates new Minister for Health

18th January, 2017

Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) President, Professor Tony Cunningham AO, has welcomed the announcement of the Hon Greg Hunt MP as Health Minister and Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos to the Industry, Innovation & Science portfolio.

“AAMRI is excited about working with Minister Hunt, who has demonstrated a great understanding of the role health and medical research plays in Australia. I am delighted the new Minister has today spoken about his passion for turning what is done in the laboratory into better healthcare for patients.” Professor Cunningham said.

“In his previous role Mr Hunt delivered a $250 million Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The BTF works in conjunction with the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), the transformational $20 billion fund that will deliver an additional $1 billion in government funding to health and medical research by 2021.

“The MRFF will have a tremendous impact on our community. It will help us to reduce the pain and suffering of the health conditions experienced by so many Australians from diabetes, mental illness and cardio-vascular disease, through to cancers, auto-immune diseases and dementia.”

Professor Cunningham said he was also assured by the knowledge that Minister Sinodinos had spoken passionately about the health and economic benefits of the MRFF in the past, calling it a ‘landmark coalition initiative’, and about the economic benefits that health and medical research hubs bring to our cities.

Professor Cunningham also congratulated the Hon Ken Wyatt MP on his appointment as Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health.

“Ten of AAMRI’s 47 members work in Indigenous health, helping to close the gap on many health conditions that disproportionately affect our first Australians such as rheumatic heart disease, diabetes and kidney diseases,” Professor Cunningham said.

“It will be an honour to work with the first Indigenous Australian in a Federal ministry to help further this important work, and AAMRI’s members will make him most welcome when he visits them.

“Time and again it has been shown what a terrific investment medical research is for Australia. It’s estimated at least $3 is returned for every $1 invested in health and medical research through improved diagnostics, savings to the health system and improved treatments and cures.

“Just last week there was an announcement about the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s approval of the leukaemia drug Venetoclax, which was developed by AAMRI member the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, in conjunction with fellow AAMRI member Peter Mac, and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. This drug essentially ‘melts away’ cancer and will save lives. This is another marvellous example of Australian medical research. There will be many more to come thanks to the new sustainable funding the MRFF will bring.”

Professor Cunningham also paid tribute to outgoing Health Minister Sussan Ley and wished her well in the future.

“Ms Ley has been incredibly supportive of health and medical research in Australia as Health Minister,” Professor Cunningham said. “She was a dedicated advocate for the MRFF; she visited a number of AAMRI’s member institutes while in this role and always showed a keen interest in the work being undertaken.”

Media Contact: Rebecca Thorpe, 0401 419 590, rebecca.thorpe@aamri.org.au.