Burnet Institute has welcomed the Federal Government’s renewed 2015-16 budget commitment to the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
Federal Treasurer, The Hon. Joe Hockey MP announced in Tuesday’s Federal Budget that $400 million would be distributed through the MRFF over the next four years.
Burnet Institute Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb said the Treasurer’s pledge made medical research a ‘big winner’ on Budget night.
“The fact that an additional $400 million will be spent on medical research over the next four years is a triumph for the sector,” Professor Crabb said.
“It’s more than a long-term fix, which is what the MRFF is designed to be; disbursement of significant funds in the next few years provides some immediate stimulus to the sector.
“This is a very welcome and significant announcement for medical research, especially in this tough economic climate.”
The MRFF is projected to build to $20 billion by the 2019-2020 financial year funded by savings within the health portfolio and pharmaceutical benefits scheme.
The interest earned from the fund would support research grants for projects including finding cures and preventions for the major health issues of today.
The MRFF was to have started on January 1 this year after being announced in last year’s Federal Budget, but its future became uncertain after the scrapping of its major funding mechanism, the $7 GP co-payment.
It’s expected legislation will be introduced into Federal Parliament for the establishment of the fund from August 1 this year.
“Medical research is an area of competitive advantage for Australia; it’s necessary for us to keep pace with improving the health of our people, and it’s absolutely necessary for Australia’s economic development,” Professor Crabb said.
“We’re living longer, better and more productive lives and we’re doing that, to a large degree, as a result of innovations arising from medical research.
“Medical research is one of Australia’s great strengths and the Budget announcement underscores the recognition that it’s a vital part of our future.”
Professor Crabb said he was relieved that foreign aid appears to have been spared from further cuts in this budget.
“Deep cuts to foreign aid in this Government’s first budget and mid-year economic statement were not in Australia’s interests, and certainly not in the interests of the poorest and most marginalised people of our region,” he said.
“There is so much ground to be made up in foreign aid and this will take years. In the immediate, while the slide may have been arrested to a degree, specific reallocations to countries in our region will need close examination.”
CLICK HERE for the Medical Research Future Fund Action Group’s Budget response.