Supporting Data Sharing and Release

The Productivity Commission has recommended that if Australia is to make better use of Government held data, including for research purposes, the law needs to be changed. The Government has acted on three key recommendations of the Productivity Commission in its proposal for new Data Sharing and Release legislation. This includes providing a new framework and guidance for the release of data by Government departments and agencies; creation of a new National Data Commissioner (NDC), to oversee the Framework and champion the release and use of data; and the creation of accredited ‘trusted users’ to facilitate access to data by researchers.

Research Australia’s submission is broadly supportive of the proposals in the Paper but has suggested an expanded role for the NDC and raised some concerns about how the accreditation of ‘trusted users’ will be implemented. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has committed to further consultation and we await the development of draft legislation by the end of 2018.

Research Australia’s submission

Amendments to the R&D Tax Incentive

Research Australia has made a submission in response to the draft amendments to the R&D Tax Incentive legislation, the latest round of changes since the legislation commenced seven years ago. Research Australia’s submission addresses two key issues.

The  first is our concern that the definition of clinical trial is not broad enough to ensure the exemption from the $4 million cap on R&D expenditure will apply to all clinical trials activity, particularly for medical devices. We have worked with other peak bodies, including Ausbiotech and BioMelbourne Network, to propose an alternative and more inclusive definition.

The second main concern relates to the proposed reduction in the rate of the R&D Tax Incentive. For early stage companies seeking to commercialise new pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies and devices, this has the effect of directly reducing their cashflow at a critical stage in their development. Research Australia has opposed the rate reduction.

Research Australia’s submission

Improving Research Funding

Research Australia’s submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Research Funding has proposed a review across all funding agencies and government departments to eliminate unnecessary inconsistencies in application guidelines, processes and acquittal procedures. We also called for the development of a common approach to the calculation and payment of funding to cover the indirect costs of research.

Research Australia’s submission

Stillbirth Research and Education Inquiry

Research Australia’s submission to the Parliamentary Committee’s Inquiry into Stillbirth Research and Education has acknowledged the enormous burden of stillbirth on bereaved families, and the scope for further research to address this issue.

The submission has highlighted the range of Australian research programs and funding that can be utilised for stillbirth research and our existing research expertise in this area.

The Committee’s report will be released later this year.

Research Australia’s submission

Research for a Sustainable WA Health System

Research Australia has urged the Expert Panel responsible for undertaking WA’s Sustainable Health Review to give greater emphasis to the role health and medical research can play in creating a more sustainable health system for Western Australians.

While welcoming the identification by the Review Panel of the need to ‘Harness and support health and medical research, collaboration and innovation’ as one of the Interim Report’s 12 Directions, our response further elaborates the role for health and medical research in achieving the other 11 Directions identified by the Review Panel. We have used examples and case studies provided by our WA members to highlight the many ways that research is already helping reform WA’s health system, and the many opportunities to further leverage and expand this partnership for the benefit of the whole community.

Research Australia’s submission to the WA Sustainable Health Review

Research to Improve Rural and Remote Health

The Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee is inquiring into the ‘accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia’. Research Australia’s submission to the Committee’s initial call for submissions has emphasised the important role that research can play in both understanding and overcoming the issues rural and remote Australians face in getting access to mental health services. Research Australia has encouraged the Committee to engage with Australia’s heath and medical researchers in the course of its Inquiry.

Research Australia’s submission to the Inquiry.

Technology, Research and the Future Aged Care workforce

Research Australia’s submission to the Taskforce on the Aged Care Workforce Strategy emphasises the technological changes facing the aged care sector in the next decade and beyond, and the opportunities this change provides to improve and extend the quality of life of ageing Australians. It also looks at how the future aged care workforce can be better prepared for the aged care workplace of the future, and the new roles, skills and capabilities this will entail.

Finally, an aged care workforce strategy needs to be integrated with other strategies and work to prepare for the future of aged care service delivery. We need a research and innovation strategy for the aged care sector to support the evaluation and integration of new technologies into aged care, and the development of new technologies and other innovations in the delivery of aged care.

Research Australia’s submission

Submission to the Review of the ACNC legislation

Research Australia has made our submission to the Review of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission legislation.

The changes proposed by the Commissioner include extending his power to determine what is effective use of charities’ resources.

Research Australia believes the legislation is working well and there is no reason to amend the Act.

Please click here to read our submission in full.

 

Research Australia challenges Electoral Reform Bill

Research Australia has made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017, arguing that the regulatory burden the Bill will impose on research organisations that engage in public comment on Government decisions, programs and legislation is unwarranted.

In particular, Research Australia has focused on the definition of ‘political expenditure’ in the Bill, which could include activities such as responding to Government reviews and inquiries, and the fact that the Bill will capture research grants from overseas funding bodies as ‘gifts’ that need to be monitored in relation to political expenditure.

Research Australia’s submission on the Electoral Funding and Disclosure Bill

The Inquiry received many submissions from charities and other organisations about the  Bill. On 9 April 2018 the Committee released its report, recommending that several parts of the Bill be reconsidered and amended by the Government. The report is available from the Committee’s website here. The Government has yet to respond. Research Australia will continue to monitor developments.

Research Australia supports TGA reforms

Research Australia made a submission to the Senate Committee inquiring into the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2017 Measures No. 1) Bill 2017. This Bill is the latest instalment in amendments to implement the recommendations of a Review conducted in 2015 with the aim of improving the processes for the approval of medicines and medical devices by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and to provide consumers with better information.

Research Australia supported the amendments to improve access to potentially lifesaving medicines for patients with few or no other options. In doing so, it will implement a scheme that is similar to those already operating in the USA and European Union.

Research Australia also supported the proposed changes to the marketing of complementary medicines, although we urged the Senate Committee to recommend the legislation be amended to include disclaimers to the effect that the efficacy claims for the products have not been independently assessed and/or are based on traditional use rather than scientific evidence.

Research Australia Submission on the TGA amendments.

The Senate Committee issued its Report on 2 February, noting Research Australia’s submissions. It has recommended that the Senate pass the Bill. In responding to concerns raised by the Committee about advertising of complementary medicines, the Department has outlined measures that will be taken to ensure the public is aware that efficacy claims are based on traditional use rather than scientific evidence. The Committee has also urged the Government to ensure the TGA is adequately resourced to undertake its monitoring activities.