The West Australian Liberals have pledged $30 million over four years for health and medical research in their latest election announcement.
The Liberals have also promised to establish a new funding structure that would preserve the tax deductibility of corporate and philanthropic contributions for health and medical research to boost government funds.
Premier Colin Barnett said the funding was in addition to $58 million already committed over the next four years to health and medical research.
Health Minister Kim Hames said funding further research would help attract and retain highly skilled medical researchers.
He said researchers could investigate the cause and treatment for illness such as childhood cancer, asthma and age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
“WA researchers have 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,” Dr Hames said.
But the Australian Medical Association savaged the plan, saying the cash infusion was grossly deficient.
The AMA had been seeking a $40 million-a-year boost to funding.
“This plan will not, to be clear, lead to better health for all Western Australians as the Premier has claimed today,” AMA WA president Richard Choong said.
“This plan will also not broaden the State economy nor develop a science culture.”
Mr Barnett said WA was already home to excellent researchers including Nobel Prize winners Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, and Australians of the Year Fiona Wood and Fiona Stanley.“The research that these people have done has led to extraordinary breakthroughs in stomach ulcer care, the treatment of serious burns and revolutionised research into childhood illness in Australia,” he said.
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