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Windfall of $500 million for genomics in Australia's federal budget

14 May 2018
Appeared in BioNews 949

Genomics research in Australia is set to receive a large funding boost from the Government as part of its latest federal budget for health.

An overall increase in funding for science and medical research has been promised, with AU$500 million pledged for genomics and precision medicine, and also AU$1.9 billion for research infrastructure. 

The contribution to genomics research is part of the broader Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan intended to improve health care for Australians, according to health minister Greg Hunt.

'This is a great budget for medical research,' Professor Tony Cunningham, president of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes in Melbourne, told Nature News. The previous federal budgetary allocation for medical research was AU$1.2bn a year. This money goes towards clinical trials, biomedical research and industry collaborations on health technologies. 

Genomics research will come under the framework of the Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission with a series of studies planned to investigate both rare diseases and cancer. The framework also aims to move towards giving patients early access to new drugs. Some of the money will go towards increasing awareness of the implications of genomic medicine among the wider community. 

Other projects include the Targeted Translation Research Accelerator where AU$125m has been pledged to the study of diabetes and cardiac disease. Under the Frontier Science Program AU$240m will be spent on the development of new ideas, research, devices and treatments.  

Other areas of science that stand to benefit from this increased investment include the National Research Infrastructure Investment Plan, a programme of finance over the next 12 years that will increase the amount of shared research infrastructure, including microscopes and supercomputers.  

The final budget for all of the above, however, is still to be approved by the Senate. 

Australia Invests A$500M in Medical Genomics Research to Improve Patient Care
Genome Web |  8 May 2018
Australian budget delivers for science facilities and medical research
Nature News |  9 May 2018
Australian scientists welcome boosts in new federal budget
Science News |  9 May 2018
Federal budget 2018: $1.3b plan to make Australia a medical technology leader
Australian Financial Review |  8 May 2018
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