Review of the ACNC legislation

It seems hard to believe the ACNC has been with us for five years. For many charities, including the large number active in health and medical research, the drawn-out process around the creation of the ACNC, the new registration and reporting requirements, and the prospect for several years of it all being unwound seem much more recent.

Nonetheless, the ACNC Act requires the review of the legislation be undertaken after five years and this is now happening. The Terms of Reference, available from the Treasury website are fairly open ended and straightforward, seeking input in a range of areas. Submissions to the Review are due by 28 February.

In an interesting development the newly appointed ACNC Commissioner, Dr Gary Johns, has already made a submission to the Review, which is publicly available.

In a move that has raised concerns in many circles in the not for profit sector, Dr Johns has proposed that he be given additional powers to:
(a) promote the effective use of the resources of not-for-profit entities; and
(b) enhance the accountability of not-for-profit entities to donors, beneficiaries and the public.

In the past Dr Johns has been critical of charities that participate in advocacy, and many in the sector are seeing this proposal as a move by the ACNC Commissioner to take greater control of the activities that charities undertake. This comes at the same time that a Bill before Parliament seeking to improve transparency in relation to political lobbying has the potential to impose additional red tape on charities that engage in a broad range of ‘political expenditure’. (The ACNC Commissioner has criticised these measures in a submission to the Senate Inquiry.)

If your organisation is a charity, you may want to consider making a submission to the review of the ACNC legislation and responding to the Commissioner’s proposals. Research Australia is considering its own position and is keen to hear from its membership. Please contact Greg Mullins, Head of Policy, on 03 9662 9420 or via email at if you would like to contribute to our submission or discuss any aspect of the review.

For information about this and other government reviews, consultations and new legislation of relevance to the health and medical research sector, visit the Current Consultations page on Research Australia’s website.


Prestigious Japan Prize won by Australian medical researcher

Australian Laureate Professor Jacques Miller has been jointly awarded the prestigious Japan Prize for research undertaken in the 1960s that established the basic concepts underlying modern immunology and led to the development of immunotherapies which have saved countless lives around the world.

Professor Miller undertook this research while working at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne, in collaboration with American researcher Professor Max D Cooper. The Japan Prize Foundation said the work of the two winners laid “the conceptual groundwork for our understanding of nearly all fields touched by immunology.”

‘Research Australia congratulates Professors Miller and Cooper on this very significant award, recognising the extraordinary contribution they have made to science and human health’ said Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin. ‘This award is further evidence of the long history of world class health and medical research undertaken in Australia, and the contribution it makes to better human health around the world.  It is also a reminder of the need for patience. New discoveries in basic research can take decades to make an impact in the community, but when they do the benefits can be immense’.

Professor Miller is also widely regarded as the last person to discover the function of a human organ, the Thymus, and is a previous recipient of the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London and the Prime Minister’s Science Prize (2003). Although he formally retired from WEHI in 1996 he continues to be actively involved in immunology research at the Institute.

Professor Miller becomes just the second Australian researcher to win the prize since it was first awarded in 1985, joining Professor Frank Fenner who won the award in 1988 for overseeing the eradication of smallpox.

The Japan Prize is awarded annually to scientists and engineers from around the world who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science and technology, thereby furthering the cause of peace and prosperity of mankind. More information is available at


Research Australia’s response to the 2030 Plan

Research Australia welcomes today’s announcement from Innovation and Science Australia (ISA), Australia’s independent science, research and innovation advisory board, calling for the Government to enhance the national culture of innovation to help drive the country’s prosperity.

We are pleased to note that the 2030 Plan, “Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation”, articulates the jobs of the future and skills we need to ensure Australia’s world class research can translate into global outcomes.

Research Australia has long stated that Australia has the potential to lead and create new markets by applying cutting-edge science and technologies to new, first in world applications that improve human health. However, to achieve or even entertain these possibilities, we have to be courageous and adapt our current approach to funding to reach “an economies of scale” ideal. This includes funding for areas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, high performance computing, and of course genomics and epigenetics.

While there are some questions about the Plan’s detail, Research Australia looks forward to working through them with our membership and the Government.

Research Australia is particularly pleased to see that many of the recommendations made in our June 2017 submission to ISA in response to the 2030 Strategy Issues Paper were adopted in the report, specifically the focus on frontier technologies and embedding research in Australia’s health system.

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Research Australia welcomes additional rare cancers and rare diseases research

The Government has today announced an $69 million boost in funding for research in to rare cancers and rare diseases, including $26 million allocated to 19 projects as a part of the Medical Research Future Fund’s “Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Needs Clinical Trials Program”. This program has been expanded from $13 million when announced last year to $26 million in recognition of the quality of the applications received.

A $10 million targeted call for research into rare diseases and cancers is expected soon, and an additional $33 million will be made available in the next financial year to further expand research in this area.

Research Australia welcomes the additional funding, and recognises the importance of funding for these areas which impact many Australian families.

Last year Research Australia made a submission to the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates, which you can read in full here.

You can keep a track of all of the Medical Research Future Fund funding announcements here, or click here to read the Minister for Health’s full statement on today’s funding boost.


Notice of 2017 AGM | Wednesday 29 November

Members are invited to attend the 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Research Australia Limited on Wednesday 29 November at 09.30am being held at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Level 7 Boardroom, 384 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst NSW.

The AGM is a statutory requirement to receive and consider the financial statements and reports of directors, and election of directors.  It is anticipated that the AGM will run for a short time and will be followed by a light morning tea.
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Corporate Giving And Innovative Research Have The Greatest Impact

Commitment, support and passion are hallmarks of organisations making a difference and this is even more significant when it’s to fight a devastating childhood cancer.

With very few treatment options and no cure yet, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a devastating childhood cancer, that is highly aggressive and difficult to treat due to the location of the tumor. The only way is through expensive medical research.

At a gala event in Melbourne last Thursday, the national advocacy body, Research Australia awarded the QBE Foundation the Leadership in Corporate Giving Award for amazing support of The Kids’ Cancer Project to raise funds to find a way to beat this terrible disease.

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2017 Leadership in Corporate Giving Award Winner: The QBE Foundation

The Leadership in Corporate Giving Award recognises outstanding leadership by a corporation or business in giving to and supporting health and medical research. The award acknowledges the partnership and commitment of a corporation over time, an important dimension of effective corporate giving.

Congratulations to Award Winner: The QBE Foundation

The QBE Foundation is a global initiative to help QBE Insurance give back to the communities in which it operates through charity partnerships, donations and volunteering. Launched in 2011 to mark QBE’s 125th anniversary year, the Foundation formalises QBE’s long history of community involvement and corporate giving into a structured, global approach. Continue reading “2017 Leadership in Corporate Giving Award Winner: The QBE Foundation”

2017 Great Australian Philanthropy Award Winner: Andrew Forrest AO and Nicola Forrest

The Great Australian Philanthropy Award recognises recognises personal philanthropy that is outstanding in its generosity, effectiveness, vision, high impact and transformative quality. The award encourages personal philanthropic donations over a period of time by an individual or family to Australian health and medical research.

Congratulations to Award Winner: Andrew Forrest AO and Nicola Forrest of Minderoo Foundation

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2017 Health Services Research Award Winner: Australian & New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry

This Award is for an individual who has provided leadership and made an outstanding contribution to health services research; driven research that has led to a significant improvement in healthcare; and/or has championed the development of the health services research field.                                                                                 

Congratulations to Award Winner:
Australian & New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry

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2017 Advocacy Award Winner: Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation

The Advocacy award recognises and congratulates exceptional contributions made by
advocates who help raise community awareness and understanding about the importance of health and medical research.

Congratulations to 2017 Advocacy Award Winner: Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation

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