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Monday, 26 September 2022
Page: 35


Senator WALSH (Victoria) (13:44): It has never been more important to make more of the essential vaccines and medicines that we need right here in Australia, like lifesaving mRNA vaccines. Despite the need for urgency, despite the need to put the nation's best interests first and despite the need for cooperation, we had the former Morrison government reported as saying they would support any bid to bring mRNA manufacturing to Australia, only if it were anywhere but Victoria.

Well, just this month, I was proud to be at the announcement of the location of Moderna's first Southern Hemisphere mRNA manufacturing facility at Monash University in Melbourne in Victoria, because the truth is that a project of this scale, this importance and this size couldn't be anywhere else. Victoria is Australia's home of medical research and manufacturing. It's home to 18 world-leading medical research institutes, including the Doherty and Burnet institutes, now well known to all through the pandemic. It's home to one of the largest medical science workforces in the country; home to the world's leading international pharmaceutical manufacturers; home to top universities, including Monash University, where the first Australian mRNA vaccine candidate was invented; and home to excellent public hospitals, with over 40 directly involved in clinical research and trials.

Victoria is Australia's science and innovation capital because of the sustained vision and investment of the Andrews Labor government and of our medical research and manufacturing communities for more than 20 years. That vision has well and truly paid off for the people of Victoria and Australia, with growing international investment, thousands of good, secure jobs and, of course, better health and better lives too.