A $20 billion medical research future fund for cutting-edge research will be the largest of its kind in the world, the government says.
Medical research is one of the few winners in a budget that makes massive cuts to health and hospital funding – much of which will be reinvested in the fund until it reaches its $20 billion target in 2020.
The fund could change the way medical research is done in Australia, with interest from the capital able to fund $1 billion a year in new research projects through the National Health and Medical Research Council.
”This investment, to be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians, will help to ensure Australia can continue to advance world leading medical research projects, attract and retain first-class researchers and deliver improved health and medical outcomes for all Australians.”
The government will also spend $200 million over five years on dementia research, and $18 million over four years on the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre to establish and operate a National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health.
While the project could deliver huge growth in innovative medical treatments, it is unclear who will pay for them to be implemented in Australia’s hospitals and GP rooms.
The budget health outline notes that ”advances in medical technology mean that demand for medicines and health services is expected to grow for all age groups”, and individuals and the states and territories will have to carry a much greater part of the burden of ongoing health funding.
This article first appeared on ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ on 13 May 2014.