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Monday, 19 September 2011
Page: 10421

Medical Research

Dear Mr Murphy

Thank you for your letter of 7 July 2011 to the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, on behalf of the Standing Committee on Petitions, regarding a submission requesting that the House of Representatives does not support a reduction in medical research funding. Your letter has been referred to me as the Minister responsible for health and medical research. I apologise for the delay in responding.

There has never been more money invested in health and medical research in this nation than there is today, right now, under this Government.

The Gillard Government has reconfirmed its commitment to health and medical research by maintaining the all-time high levels of funding to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in the 2011-12 Budget. The Budget commits $746.1 million to the NHMRC for health and medical research. That is an increase of 4.3% on last year ' s funding of $715.5 million.

The Government recognises the importance of health and medical research. The Government is also aware of the pressure for research institutes, universities, hospitals and health services to work more closely together. The disease burden continues to change with the growth of chronic diseases and the impact of ageing. It is critical that research be translated into improved clinical practice quickly, and that these imperatives are seen as part of the broader health reform agenda.

To this end, the Government has commissioned an independent strategic review of health and medical research (the Review), which will focus on optimising Australia's capacity to produce world class health and medical research to 2020.

Stakeholder participation will be critical to the Review, and there will be a broad range of consultations to ensure key stakeholders are able to engage in the process. Further information on the Review, including draft terms of reference, will be made available through the Department of Health and Ageing in the coming weeks.

I appreciate your interest in health and medical research.

from the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mr Butler