Australia must retain its edge in the health and medical sciences

The Academy is calling for decisive action to ensure Australia retains and improves its competitive edge in the health and medical sciences, in the face of intensifying global competition.

In a statement published today ahead of the forthcoming Federal election, the Academy has outlined five priorities for Government to ensure Australia remains a global leader in this area. The priorities set out the Academy’s vision for how a future Government can further improve the lives of all Australians through health and medical science, while also advancing Australia’s international competitiveness and future prosperity.

As well as sustained, coordinated investment, Australia must do more to embed research in the health system. This will allow findings to be more quickly translated into new innovations and practices – and patients will benefit from faster access to new treatments. All patients benefit from a research-engaged health system, the Academy has stressed, not just those directly involved in the studies.

With health inequalities on the rise in Australia, especially in Indigenous communities, the Academy also calls for a greater focus on prevention and public health. There have been concerted efforts to ‘Close the Gap’, with some success, but the gap remains and in some areas cases, it is widening – for example in mortality rates from cancer.

The Academy’s President, Professor Ian Frazer AC, said:

‘Australia is home to world class researchers in health and medicine. We must create the right environment for them to flourish so that Australia can reap the benefits brought by a strong life sciences sector. This must be part of a comprehensive, long-term research and innovation strategy.

‘Successive governments have rightly recognised the value of health and medical research to Australia in driving economic growth, creating jobs and delivering societal benefits. We must not be complacent as doing so risks losing ground in face of increasingly fierce global competition.’

In the statement, the Academy sets out five priorities for Government:

  1. Invest in health and medical sciences as part of a comprehensive research and innovation strategy to drive health, productivity and prosperity.
  2. Foster a vibrant health and medical research environment that promotes cross-sector collaboration and attracts industry investment.
  3. Embed research in the health system and streamline regulation to drive health outcomes and efficient services.
  4. Harness the outcomes of health and medical science to improve the lives of all Australians and address health inequalities.
  5. Cultivate a skilled, diverse and mobile workforce, fully equipped to embrace new technology and tackle future health challenges.

Pre-election statement – February 2019

Pre-election statement SUMMARY – February 2019

Read more about this project on our policy pages.

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