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Transcript of remarks at the Association of Australian Medical Research Institute 2016 Annual Dinner: Parliament House, Canberra: 9 November 2016



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PRIME MINISTER

THE HON. MALCOLM TURNBULL MP

TRANSCRIPT

9 November 2016

Remarks at the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes 2016 Annual Dinner Parliament House, Canberra

E&OE…

PRIME MINISTER:

I thank you very and it’s wonderful to be here tonight with my colleagues, Sussan Ley the Minister for Health, David Gillespie the Assistant Minister for Rural Health. The Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy and many other parliamentary colleagues and of course so many outstanding researchers.

You mentioned that the research are agile and nimble, innovative, committed, creative but ‘cashed up’ wasn’t in the list but perhaps there had to be something missing clearly.

As you all know and it’s Ian and Michelle in particular that medical research is a great passion of mine, it’s a great passion of mine and Lucy’s in our own smaller capacity and we have for many many years supported the work of many of our great research institutes and of course it is a great passion of my Government, it is so important, it is critically important in every respect.

It is a vital part of our whole National Innovation and Science Agenda - it’s a vital part of ensuring Australians are continuing to lead the world medical research, that we continue to deliver better health outcomes for Australians and indeed all people because medical research is a global good.

As you mentioned last week, despite Michelle’s absence overseas doing great work overseas, we were at the Sydney Children’s Hospital to deliver on our election commitment of $20 million for that great national research collaboration - the Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative.

What a great goal and what great science is going into it. And what a great example of the cooperation that you need to achieve those goals. It is an interesting thing no matter how technical you are, no matter how 21st Century you are, no matter how talented in computer programming or analytics, none the less, we humans are very social animals. We are very social animals and we are interested in each other, we inspire each and we are always much more creative when we are cooperating.

That is why centres of research - bringing people together and an evening like tonight - this bringing people together, making sure that they’re sparking off each other is vitally important so collaborative research particularly when you can reach around our big country and of course around the world is vitally important to achieve those goals.

It’s one of the paradoxes of the 21st Century and the age of information technology that when the internet arrived and we all imagined - many people imagined that we wouldn’t have to get together and hang out together, we could all be sitting remotely on an island or a mountaintop or a beach perhaps; working separately and just simply collaborating online.

Yet nonetheless, the fact is that institutions were people come together, where they can work together, where they can interact directly have been more important together. Moving away from medical science and to urban economics, Ed Glaeser an American economist has underlined this very well in his work on cities and it’s one of the reasons we are very committed to having a clear National Cities Policy because these great agglomerations of talent, whether, wherever they are vitally important to stronger research.

Now a key part of our research agenda as you know, and Sussan will have more to say about this later. And I am sorry I am unable to stay for the dinner tonight but it looks very appetising. I was actually just about to tuck into it when Ian Frazer, I don’t know whether there was a slight glance at my girth, concerned about me maintaining my figure but he said: “You won’t have time for that”, he said. [Laughter] You know, he’s a great Australian but he’s dour Scot at all times, bit of self-denying Calvinism there I thought.

Nonetheless it seems to have gone alright with his own dinner. [Laughter]

Medical Research Future Fund is a critical part of this. And of course as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, and our Biomedical Translation Fund as well, these are essential parts of ensuring that you can do more of the great work that we need for it to secure our future.

The Medical Research Future Fund will provide a much needed funding boost for health and medical research to address our national priorities, now and into the future.

It will help us to understand diseases and support the search for preventions and cures.

It will drive innovation and improve delivery of healthcare, boost the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system and contribute to our economic growth.

And these dimensions go well beyond the medical - this is a vital part of our economy. Spin-offs from your work into our fields is absolutely essential. The connectedness of scientific research is something that is often not adequately appreciated. What you are doing is important - your particular research goals and your particular clinical goals, but it goes well beyond that. It is a vital part of securing Australia as a modern successful 21st Century economy.

Now, the Fund’s Advisory Board, led by Professor Ian Frazer, has been working hard to develop the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy, and the first list of priorities for the Fund.

The Board has consulted widely with stakeholders to ensure that these very important strategies put forward an approach that will meet the needs of patients, the medical research community, and the broader health system.

I want to acknowledge and thank the Advisory Board for lending its collective expertise to the task and all those who have contributed to the process to date, which includes many of you in this room.

So it is my pleasure to announce tonight the strategy and priorities developed by the Advisory Board which will soon be tabled by the Minister in Parliament.

The Fund Strategy includes six strategic platforms which capture the entire research pipeline - strategic and international horizons, data and infrastructure, health services and systems, capacity and collaboration, trials and translation and commercialisation.

Now the Minister, Sussan Ley will expand on how these platforms will support research at all stages - not only laboratory based and pre-clinical research, but also clinical and applied research in hospitals, primary care and other settings.

It is an exciting time, as you know better than anyone, for health and medical research and my Government looks forward to continuing to work for you and support you in your research. So on behalf of the Government and indeed on behalf of all Australians, I congratulate AAMRI and its member organisations for your fine work and I wish you a very enjoyable night.

Thank you very much.

[ENDS]