Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3914


Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (14:45): My question is to the Minister for Health. Could the minister update the House on budget measures to improve Australia's research capacity?

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Health and Minister for Sport) (14:45): I thank the member for Brisbane, who is the local member for some of the finest medical research institutes in the country. She is a passionate supporter at a personal level of many medical research causes, as many Australians are. We contribute to medical research because we have a mature model with the world's best researchers. We have amazing institutes. We have universities and other clinical settings that deserve the support of their government.

I believe that one of the proudest achievements of this budget is the creation of the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund. There are a couple of important aspects to it. One is that we will protect the capital into perpetuity. We will stop any future Labor government from raiding that fund, which is incredibly important because we know that the Labor Party have never seen a dollar that they did not want to spend. We also want to make sure that as the capital is protected we can spend down the earnings, which will mean by 2015-16 we will increase the money that we are already spending in medical research by about $20 million and by 2022 that figure will grow to over $1 billion. With that money we will help the best researchers in the world find the cures and discoveries that will be needed with the ageing of our population.

We know in our country already that treatment for diseases of the brain, rare cancers and coronary disease needs extra support. If we are to have a sustainable health system going forward we have to put extra money into research so that not only can we extend our life expectancy but we can improve our way of life in this country. This government is absolutely determined to make sure that we can grow that investment.

I want to turn to a couple of comments that have been made by people who know a lot about medical research. Professor Frank Gannon, who is the QIMR Berghofer director, said:

This is an extraordinary investment in our health, and an emphatic declaration about the importance of medical research to Australia’s future health and prosperity.

He went on to say:

It is a landmark initiative in the history of medical research in Australia.

We are going to fund this research capital fund in part by introducing a $7 co-payment which will allow $5 to go into the medical research fund and $2 to go towards a GP. Importantly, we will maintain bulk-billing in this country, but we will make the health system sustainable as we go forward. This Leader of the Opposition may be a former leader of the ACTU, just like Bob Hawke, but this bloke is no Bob Hawke.