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Northern Australia Tropical Disease Collaborative Research Program

19 November 2016

Joint media release with the Minister for Health and Aged Care and Minister for Sport, the Hon Sussan Ley MP

The Coalition Government has announced almost $6 million in funding to support the Northern Australia Tropical Disease Collaborative Research Program.

This program drives innovative, high quality research into the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tropical disease, and builds strong collaborative networks and domestic capacity in tropical health.

Awarded to the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, the program brings together a multidisciplinary collaboration of researchers to improve health outcomes in the tropical north of Australia.

This program also aligns with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Tropical Disease Research Regional Collaboration Initiative.

Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, said the program will support innovative research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tropical disease.

“The research that will be undertaken will work towards protecting the north from emerging infectious threats and further promote engagement with our regional neighbours,” Minister Ley said.

“The research will play an important role in translating research findings into outcomes for health in northern Australia and the region more broadly.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the research funding was one of a diverse range of investments the Coalition Government is making in the north to drive economic growth.

“Our Northern Agenda is focussed squarely on practical projects that lead to new investments and will ultimately make the north an even more attractive place to live and work.

“Northern Australia has an abundance of natural resources, but it also faces different challenges from southern regions to ensure we maximise its potential.

“Our investment in research for the prevention and treatment of tropical disease is an example of Northern Australia using its location and expertise to find solutions that will benefit people’s lives.”

The research team, led by Professor Bart Currie, will establish a northern Australian network that incorporates Indigenous engagement, mentoring and knowledge translation, and facilitates collaboration with southern partners.  The team will strengthen partnerships with research institutions in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

“Our research will focus on skin and respiratory health, chronic diseases such as diabetes, and emerging threats, including increasing antimicrobial resistance and diseases transmitted by mosquitoes,” Professor Currie said.

“Building strong primary health care systems is recognised worldwide as a key element to improve health outcomes, reduce inequity and close the gap.”

This investment is part of a broader Government strategy to build Australia’s primary research capacity and support the development of Northern Australia as outlined in the Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.

This White Paper is an essential part of the Government’s agenda to build a vibrant future for Northern Australia, and to capitalise on its strengths and natural advantages.

More information on the grant is available on the NHMRC website.

Media contacts: Senator Canavan's office 02 6277 7180

FUNDING HIGHLIGHT

Professor Bart Currie, Menzies School of Health Research ($5,997,916)

Improving Health Outcomes in the Tropical North will strengthen partnerships with research institutions in the NT, Qld, WA, NSW, Vic and SA, by undertaking a research agenda that will help close the gap in Indigenous health disadvantage, protect the north from emerging infectious threats and engage regional neighbours. Professor Currie’s team will establish a northern Australian network that incorporates Indigenous engagement, mentoring and knowledge translation, and facilitates collaboration with southern partners.