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Remarks [speech] at official opening of the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, Sydney



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PRIME MINISTER

REMARKS AT OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE INGHAM INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED MEDICAL RESEARCH SYDNEY 23 OCTOBER 2012

PM: Can I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and in the spirit of reconciliation, offering my respects to elders past and present.

Can I acknowledge my federal parliamentary colleagues the Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek and Chris Hayes, the Member for Fowler who is here among a large number of federal parliamentarians, state parliamentarians and local representatives.

It's great that we've all be able to gather here today.

Can I also acknowledge the Ingham family. We wouldn't be here without you. What a fantastic speech and to see the video too was truly heartwarming.

So thank you very much for letting us be here today in what is really your place.

Can I acknowledge too Terry who has spoken to you, Michael and Amanda. I think their enthusiasm for this project just shines through and has shone through in those contributions to date. So it's been great to be able to listen to them.

Can I also acknowledge Gary Gray. Actually Minister Gray wasn't able to be here today, but he particularly asked me to bring his good wishes to this gathering.

He had a long association with Bob, he has enjoyed that long association, he is today with his mother in Whyalla, which I can report to you has not been wiped off the map, and his mother introduced or reintroduced us to that wonderful term bunkum on national television so we should be acknowledging her as well.

But Gary did particularly want me to bring his best wishes to this gathering.

It's nice to share a stage with local girl Lisa and whilst I don't normally acknowledge members of the media, because where would you start, where would you finish and some days what terminology would you use; I do understand that Peter Harvey is with us today back at work so a special hello to him.

I was here in 2009 turning that very first sod and it's great to be back.

Thank heavens we didn't have to do all the work in between the turning of that very first sod and where we're standing today.

But because I was here in 2009 I have kept an eye on this project ever since and I was always full of confidence that on time and on budget was going to be the only way.

And so it's great to be back today having paid a special attention to this place for the opening.

When it comes to medical and scientific research, our nation, Australia, is a world leader. We should congratulate ourselves on that.

And that means that Australians themselves are living longer and living more fulfilled lives than ever before.

And that happens because of the dedication, persistence and sheer hard work of generations of medical researchers.

Now, the economic value of medical research is real but it's never the whole story.

The human value is what it really is all about and the human value is beyond calculation.

The work of institutes like this improves lives; it saves lives. And we can think of some of the triumphs of the past that I know will be added to in this place.

Australians have brought medical triumphs to the world including developing penicillin for use in humans, medical ultrasound, the heart pacemaker, the Humidicrib, trials of chemotherapy for children with leukemia, Cochlear ear implants, most recently the Gardasil vaccine.

I mean, what a miracle - a vaccine now going to protect generation of girls and women to come from cervical cancer and recently extended to Australian boys.

It's that kind of research that our nation has done in the past that we can do in the future.

The Gardasil vaccine - I remember when I first heard about it, just thought it was inconceivable that you could get a vaccine for a cancer, what an amazing thing and yet that's Australian research.

So I'm very proud of our researchers, proud of what they've achieved and proud that they are working today on the breakthroughs that will make a difference tomorrow.

And now, Sydney's south-west is firmly in the race to be the custodian of that next big breakthrough.

There's no law of nature that says great medical research institute institutions, great hospitals, and great healthcare have to be in the inner city.

Just like there's no law of nature that says successful people have to forget where they came from.

Quite the contrary.

Bob and Jack Ingham decided to found this institute back in 1996 because they always remembered where they came from and they wanted to give something back to Liverpool.

We've heard from Bob himself about how his ultimate vision was for a state-of-the-art research precinct integrated with Liverpool Hospital and the local community.

How he had that tremendous vision and no doubt many thought that it was unachievable and thought, it's a pipe dream, I’m sure there were many who indulged him and the family, listened politely and respectfully and thought to themselves on the inside "gee, that will never happen."

And here we are, that vision has taken shape and become a reality.

I'm glad we were able to help along the way with $46.9 million of Australian Government funding.

We're in the market for good ideas and this was a great idea whose time had come.

The Liverpool community will be closely involved in the pioneering work that is carried out here by some of Australia's finest medical minds and this vibrant and flourishing community will be first in line to benefit from that work.

Bob, if I can say to you, if I can say to every member of your family, I want you to know and I want the people here to know that we are all so proud of you.

We are proud of what the Ingham family has achieved here, the people of Liverpool are proud of you, the people of the south-west of Sydney are proud of you, proud of your family's success.

That is to be celebrated, but proud too that you've taken that success beyond your own family and delivered it back to the community. It's a lovely thing.

I am therefore very, very honoured to be the one who after the sod-turning in 2009 gets to declare this magnificent building officially open.

We are going to work our way to the front entrance for some formal ceremonies, but I think we should all applaud the endeavours of those who brought us here, the Ingham family, everybody who has worked so hard along the way.

And I think some applause is due for the research to come, I'm sure it's going to be truly groundbreaking.

Thank you very much.