Elation as first MRFF payments announced in Budget, securing health and medical research

Elation as first MRFF payments announced in Budget, securing health and medical research

9th May, 2017

The long-awaited first disbursement of $65.9 million from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), along with confirmation of the fund’s continued growth being on target to reach $20 billion in 2020-21, has been strongly welcomed by the health and medical research sector.

As part of Budget 2017-18, the Federal Government has announced that the first MRFF disbursements would include $10 million to boost preventive health research, $10 million for Advanced Health and Research and Translation Centres and Centres for Innovation in Regional Health, and $5 million for new targeted clinical trial activity for adolescents and young adults with cancer.

“The medical research sector has been eagerly anticipating the announcement of the first projects funded by the MRFF and it is great to see preventive health being supported, along with a focus on improving the health of vulnerable groups such as Indigenous people, and improving access to clinical trials and other medical breakthroughs in regional Australia,” Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) President Professor Tony Cunningham AO said.

“We look forward to further detail on how this will be distributed, along with announcements to come about other projects to be supported.

“The MRFF is the sort of far-sighted public policy we so often cry out for in Australia, and there is no better investment than medical innovation to create the jobs of our future.”

Professor Cunningham said a $68-million investment into a proton beam therapy facility at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), also announced in Budget 2017-18, was an example of medical research supporting job growth while improving the lives of Australians living with intractable conditions.

“Proton beam therapy has not been previously available in Australia for treatment and research into cancer, so this will greatly help both those living with cancer and our researchers who are searching for even better treatments for what is now the number one killer of Australians,” Professor Cunningham said.

“Investing in health and medical research in South Australia is particularly important as the state transitions away from auto manufacturing. Researchers from around Australia will want to use this proton beam therapy facility too.”

Professor Cunningham also welcomed the Federal Government providing $52.9 million over four years from 2017-18 to implement a whole-of-government research and evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians, including the establishment of an Indigenous Research Fund.

Mental health research was another Budget winner, with $15 million over two years from 2017-18, which will support research undertaken by AAMRI members Orygen, and the Black Dog Institute.

Professor Cunningham said he was also pleased to see funding support for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) being maintained in the 2017-18 Budget.

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

Read AAMRI’s summary of budget measures below for further details