Transcript of Minister for Health, Greg Hunt's Interview at the Doorstop Melbourne
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health
12 December 2012
Topic: More than $500 million for medical research projects
I’m delighted to announce a more than $500 million investment in over 680 medical research projects, projets such as - we’ve seen here at Monash University where they will be taking statins and repurposing them to see that we can help people avoid dementia, delay dementia, have lesser impacts.
So, what we’re seeing is – not just Australian, but world class, cutting edge research, being supported by the Australian Government.
In particular, $86 million for cancer, $61 million for heart disease, $41 million for mental health, and then in the areas of diabetes, obesity, and Indigenous health, $29, $28, and $25 million.
But it’s not about the money. It’s about the fact that these project can save lives and protect lives. In Western Australia, we’re looking at how to reduce the impact of radiation on beautiful children being treated for brain cancer.
So, you couldn’t have more important projects than helping to reduce the impact of anti-microbial resistance.
In other words, giving people a better response to the medical treatments and protecting population health, reducing the risk of dementia, and increasing the health of those beautiful children with brain cancer that would otherwise be having to battle the side effects of the very treatment that’s meant to help them.
Of the $500 million – how much of that is specifically for the statin study and why did you choose that?
So, it’s $5.5 million investment in the statin study. These projects were what I call peer reviewed. In other words, it’s the medical experts that assessed and recommended. And the Government accepted the recommendations of the medical experts.
How optimistic are you that this money will - $500 million, a lot of money – that it will bear fruit in the long run?
The history of the National Health and Medical Research Council is that by having the best scientists review the best scientific proposals, we get the best outcomes.
The honest answer is not every project will succeed, but we think the vast majority of projects will make a real difference to people’s health, and they also make a difference to the Australian economy.
Medical research is a driver of jobs in Australia. It’s a driver of economic outcomes. And as we saw recently, the work of Walter Eliza Hall Institute where they secured a $400 million contract for their work on the amazing leukaemia drug Venetoclax brought income into Australia, created jobs, and saved lives.
Okay, thank you.