ADDRESS AT THE LAUNCH OF THE OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN CANCER RESEARCH INSTITUTE

It’s a great pleasure to be here today representing the Commonwealth Government for the opening of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.

Cancer is a major cause of death in Australia.

Many of us have experienced the pain of losing someone to cancer – and yet others of us have survived cancer, such as Olivia Newton-John – or “thrived”, as she has described it!

The one piece of good news is that over the last several decades we’ve seen fewer people who develop cancer dying as a result of their disease.

This positive trend is largely the result of the dedicated and determined work of talented health and medical researchers such as those present here today – it’s thanks to them that our understanding of what causes cancer and how to prevent it has improved dramatically.

Accordingly, research has driven the development of better and better treatments – and even seen the now common use of a vaccine for cervical cancer.

There is no doubt that health and medical research holds the key to a future where people no longer have to suffer through cancer or other terrible conditions.

The Australian Government believes in the power and capacity of health and medical research to achieve this goal, as well as to help us live better and live longer.

That’s why we are such strong supporters of cancer research. Indeed, over the last decade, the Australian Government has provided nearly $187 million for cancer research through the National Health and Medical Research Council.

And it is also why this Government plans to establish the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to continue to support the important work of researchers both here and across Australia.

The Medical Research Future Fund will provide the necessary additional funding for Australia to address medical research priorities, drive innovation, improve the delivery of health care, boost the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system and contribute to economic growth.

Australia has already demonstrated itself to be a powerhouse of health and medical research.

I am confident that we will see some great things emerge from the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute over the coming years – work that will improve the lives and lifetimes of cancer patients immeasurably.

I look forward to hearing about new discoveries from the Institute and the translation of these discoveries to treat cancer.

Again, it’s a pleasure to be here today with you all, with my good friends the Premier and the Health Minister, who are both such strong advocates for medical research;

And it’s good to be here with the former Premier John Brumby and with Olivia.

But most importantly, it is an honour to be here with such distinguished members of the medical research community.

Your work is so important – so important – to our community, our state, our nation and indeed, humanity at large.

Congratulations on the opening of the new research institute.

Thank you.