Hon Kim Hames MB BS JP MLA

Hon Kim Hames MB BS JP MLA

Former Minister for Health; Tourism

    Medical research boosted by funding commitments

    15/08/2013 12:00 AM
    • State Government allocates $30m to health and medical research to establish FutureHealth fund
    • Lotterywest grants of $2.4m each presented to the McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, Australian Neuro-muscular Research Institute and Ear Science Institute Australia during Science Week
    • Grants to support establishment of new WA Neuroscience Research Institute

    Deputy Premier and Health Minister Kim Hames today announced health and medical research would be boosted by $30million in State Government funding over four years.


    The new research funding for the FutureHealth initiative, comes on top of the $58million already committed over the next four years to health and medical research, bringing the total State Government investment to $88million - a more than 50 per cent increase.


    The FutureHealth funding, allocated in the State Budget 2013-14, also comes in addition to three Lotterywest grants totalling $7.2million today presented to the Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute to be built at the QEII Medical Centre.


    The grants build on the donation from the Sarich family of $20million towards the Institute, without which the project would not have been a reality. This donation is the biggest single philanthropic donation of its type in Western Australian history and is an example of how contributions to the Futurehealth fund maybe be possible in the future.


    The Lotterywest grants of $2.4million each to the McCusker Alzheimer’s Foundation, Australian Neuro-muscular Research Institute and Ear Science Institute Australia to go towards the construction and fit-out of the new Institute, were presented today by the Deputy Premier and Donna Faragher MLC, the Premier’s Parliamentary Secretary for Science.


    Dr Hames said State Government support for medical research was extremely important.


    “Scientific research is essential to ensure the medical breakthroughs that lead to better health care for all West Australian families,” he said.


    The Deputy Premier said WA researchers had led the way in many fields of research including the development of a vaccine for avian influenza, pioneering clinical trials for therapeutic approaches in muscular dystrophy, the treatment of mesothelioma caused by asbestos and childhood leukaemia.


    “The FutureHealth WA program will ensure that quality research continues and funding is available for up-and-coming researchers,” he said.


    Dr Hames said the funding structure for FutureHealth would also provide incentives for corporate and philanthropic contributions for health and medical research by preserving their tax deductibility in order to boost the fund.


    “We expect that this will attract additional funding from the corporate and philanthropic sector to supplement the State investment,” he said.


    “This will better co-ordinate and direct the health and medical research effort by combining existing State funds with other contributions and puts WA to the fore in Australia with its innovative approach to providing increased and more sustainable funding for health and medical research.”


    The allocation of funds for health and medical research will align with agreed research priorities determined by the State health system and the research industry.


    “For both the State as well as corporate and philanthropic benefactors, the specialised funding body will be able to focus on funding high quality research initiatives and ensure good governance practices are in place,” the Deputy Premier said.


    “This model will also remove the guesswork donors in identifying high quality and worthy research initiatives.”


    Mrs Faragher said the Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute, which is due to start construction in 2014, would align with similar institutes in other Australian States and internationally, while becoming a centre of excellence for neuroscience research in our State.


    “It will foster important resource-sharing and research collaboration between leading researchers and clinicians while testing cutting-edge treatments and interventions,” she said.


    Mrs Faragher said a number of key individuals had championed the development of the institute over many years and acknowledged the efforts of WA neurosurgeon Professor Bryant Stokes, Winthrop Professor Marcus Atlas of the Ear Science Institute Australia, McCusker Alzheimer’s Foundation Patron Governor Malcolm McCusker, and the contribution of the Sarich family on behalf of the Sarich Group.


    She also acknowledged the timeliness of these neuroscience-related Lotterywest grant presentations, during National Science Week.


    “National Science Week aims to raise the profile and increase public understanding of science and its role in maintaining and improving our society, economy and environment,” Mrs Faragher said.

            Fact File
    • The increased funding is also supported by practical improvements to research facilities, including the $65million integration of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research at the New Children’s Hospital, and a State-Government contribution of $25million to the $112million WA Institute of Medical Research facility nearing completion at the QEII Medical Centre
    • The three Lotterywest grants will go towards the construction and fixed fit-out of the Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute
    • WA is the only Australian State where money raised from lottery products is distributed directly back to the community
    • In 2012-13, Lotterywest distributed a total of $274.5million to beneficiaries
    • Full list of grants at http://www.lotterywest.wa.gov.au  
    Deputy Premier’s office - 6552 5300