It is over 150 days since Minister Plibersek was presented with the much awaited McKeon Review on medical research and the sector faces continuing uncertainty about the Government’s response.
The Minister was presented with the report in February. The Government didn’t release the report for another 36 days and it still hasn’t provided any substantive response to the 21 recommendations.
The Coalition has already announced its initial policy response which included providing funding certainty over the forward estimates; simplifying grant applications; consolidating and streamlining ethics committee processes; transitioning to longer grant periods; and, prioritising clinical trial reforms.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton called on the Government to match the Coalition’s initial commitments and to provide its response to its own strategic review.
“Adding medical research to a Minister’s title without implementing or even responding to the recommendations is classic Rudd politics,” Mr Dutton said.
“Health and medical research is a vital sector for our health system and our economy and it has not been taken seriously by this Government.
“The sector has suffered in recent years from mooted cuts to funding, including $400 million prior to the 2011 Budget.
“The lack of policy and funding certainty continues to undermine confidence, jeopardise research projects and will cause our talented researchers to seek opportunities overseas.
“The Coalition provided a five-fold increase in funding for health and medical research in Government and we remain committed to this important sector. The McKeon Review is an important piece of work that will continue to inform policy.
“Given the long lead times and significant investment required for ground-breaking research, the sector needs policy direction and certainty which has been lacking under Labor.
“This is a major area of public policy for our health system, economy and nation. It has now been over 150 days, we are approaching an election and the Minister must detail the Government’s response,” Mr Dutton said.
Media contact: Tom Fleming 0437 250 045