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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3177 ..

Frommer highlighted that, despite the limitations, there were a number of opportunities, as I have said, for the enhancement of health and medical research in the ACT. The Michael Reid review of ACT Health in 2002 fully endorsed the strategies of enhancement, better coordination and improved recognition; likewise it should be noted that the Powell review made 15 recommendations, some of which have been fully or partially implemented, and others that still require action. The committee notes that the recommendations are still being considered by ACT Health, the Canberra Hospital and the ACT Health and Medical Research Council.

The committee noted the changes at the federal level but also recognised that any impact on research and development in the ACT will not realistically be realised for some time. Research and development is a vital part of innovation. We know that innovation systems are increasingly being recognised as the key drivers in the performance of modern economies. Research and development are considered to be a major part of an innovation system.

As the report notes, it is focused upon health and medical research and development in the ACT. The aim of the inquiry was to determine the level of health and medical research currently being undertaken in the ACT, to look at ways of enhancing the research potential by utilising the national research organisations located in the ACT and by developing strategies to attract health and medical researchers to the ACT and retain them. I think that is vital in terms of the networking potential that we have here. We have many great organisations at a national level; we should be drawing on those as much as we possibly can. The report notes that the Powell review found that the research at the Canberra Hospital was yet to reach its potential, stating:

… health related research at The Canberra Hospital is under-developed (in quantum and in quality) in comparison to other similar sized teaching hospitals in Australia. The long term consequences of this should not be under estimated.

I think there is a clear warning for us all there that we need to pick up our game in this area wherever and whenever we can.

The Powell review also found that, due to the location of powerful research organisations such as, but not limited to, the CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Population Health Research Centre, the ANU Medical School, the Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health, the Australian Primary Health Care Institute and the John Curtin School of Medical Research, the Canberra Hospital would be provided with opportunities not available elsewhere in Australia.

As I said, the report is worth reading. Those members who are interested in research and development would certainly see a lot of things in the report that we should be trying to further advance in this area within the ACT. I commend the report to the Assembly.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (10.45), in reply: I thank Mrs Burke for her contribution. I should also have mentioned that we visited the Victorian government’s Office of Science and Technology when we were in Victoria in 2005.

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