Page 3176 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 19 August 2008

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supplements the study trip report that I presented last year. It goes into more detail about the meetings that I held at the Department of Business and Economic Development for Maryland state and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. I commend the report to the Assembly.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (10.39): I would like to thank the chair for this report that is being presented today. It coincides, as the chair has said in a media release today, with the Australian Science Festival. I think it is quite timely that we are able to table this report today in the hope that it will be picked up by those people. It does not tend to be a subject that is much talked about in our community; nonetheless it is a very important part of where we should be heading as a society in terms of research and development.

At the outset I would like to thank the chair of the committee, Ms MacDonald, and my other colleague and deputy chair, Ms Porter. I would like to thank the secretariat, too. As the chair said, this has not been an easy report to put together in terms of trying to get people to appear and make submissions; hence the difficulty with the timing of all of this. I would like to thank Trish Carling, Ellie Eggerking and, last but not least, Grace Concannon, along with Lydia Chung.

As the chair said, there are 12 recommendations which we hope the government will pick up on, to build upon other recommendations that have been made to the government over the last few years in regard to research and development and innovation. We know that advances in medical technology made available through health and medical research have the capacity to improve health outcomes for all individuals. I think it is important that we do act upon these things as a legislature and also that we look backwards as well as forwards in regard to those things that have been said and recommended, and that perhaps we can still work on with respect to advances in this area.

Despite being a small jurisdiction, the ACT does have strong capabilities in health and medical research and development. The committee drew on two key reviews of health and medical research in the ACT which were commissioned by the ACT government in 2001 and 2005. Michael Frommer conducted a review into health and medical research and development in the Australian Capital Territory, known as the Frommer review, and Professor Lawrie Powell chaired a committee to conduct a review of research at the Canberra Hospital. That was known as the Strategic and scientific review of research at the Canberra Hospital—the Powell review.

Frommer found that, despite a commitment, the ACT government had little influence over health and medical research in the ACT, apart from what occurred at the Canberra Hospital. I draw members’ attention to page 43 of our report, headed “Conclusion”, and to paragraph 5.1, which states:

The greatest influence the ACT Government has in relation to health and medical research in the ACT is at TCH. The Committee commends the Governments efforts in enhancing the research capacity at TCH but considers that further investment, particularly aimed at new-career researchers, nurses and allied health professionals would provide considerable long-term benefits for the ACT community.

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