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One Australia' - message for World Biotech Meeting.

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Media Release The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

7 June 2004 04/152


For the first time an Australian Minister has addressed the world’s largest biotechnology conference, reinforcing Australia’s reputation as one of the world’s leading destinations for medical research.

Federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, this morning (Australian time) made a presentation in San Francisco to BIO 04, a gathering of more than 1000 biotech companies from 34 countries.

“Australia can stand tall and proud on the international biotech platform. We may only have about 0.3 per cent of the world’s population but we produce 2.5 per cent of the world’s medical research,” said Mr Macfarlane.

“We are recognised as having one of the most effective and transparent regulatory systems in the world for biotech, as well as one of the strongest intellectual property regimes in terms of patent and copyright enforcement,” he said.

The Ernst and Young Beyond Borders 2003 report ranked Australia the top biotech destination in the Asia-Pacific. KPMG’s 2004 Competitive Alternatives study ranked Australia as one of the less costly places to set up and do business, only behind Canada.

AusBiotech, Australia’s peak biotechnology body, has led a delegation of 400 representatives from almost every state and territory to BIO 04. This strong representation puts Australia in the top five delegations.

Given the wide Australian representation, Mr Macfarlane has called a roundtable of all the States and Territories to ensure the “One Australia” message is not swamped by cross-border parochialism.

“Australia has such a strong, positive message to sell at this global conference. It would be a ludicrous waste of opportunity if that was chewed up by a show of one-upmanship that means nothing to anyone outside the country,” he said.

While in San Francisco, Mr Macfarlane will also conduct a series of meetings with all major pharmaceutical and biotech companies to promote Australia as a destination for biotechnology R&D.

A number of these companies have grown their R&D relationships in Australia through funding released through last month’s first round of the government’s $150 million Pharmaceuticals Partnerships Program.

Media Contact: Kirsty Boazman, (02) 6277 7580, Mobile: 0412 171 444 Email: Web site:

CMR 04-168

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