The 2019-20 Federal Budget, announced on Tuesday 2 April, brings some welcome news for health and medical sciences, but overall presents a mixed picture for Australian research and innovation. Responding to the Budget, the Academy’s President, Professor Ian Frazer AC, today said:

“The government’s 10 year commitment to the Medical Research Future Fund, with further medical research training positions, and support for clinical trials, will have a positive outcome for health in Australia, and will also ensure that Australia continues to contribute to improving health across the globe.

“Prioritising medical research chosen through consultation with health consumers and local and international experts will help to ensure that Australians continue to receive the best possible healthcare.

“With the positive economic outlook reported in the budget, now is the time to seize this opportunity and bolster investment in research and innovation across all disciplines. While it is pleasing that the funding for the National Health and Medical Research Council is maintained in the budget, I am disappointed to note a reduction in funding for Universities and for the Australian Research Council, as these organisations are essential to drive the basic research that enables the clinical research that translates into practical outcomes for patients.”

The Academy set out a number of priorities for the coming years in our pre-election statement, published in February – measures that will ensure Australia retains its edge in the health and medical sciences. We highlighted the importance of driving economic growth by investing in research and innovation, noting that Australia falls behind out competitors in this domain, as shown in this figure from that statement: