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
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.
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
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 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 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.
Research Australia’s submission to the Treasurer has urged him to use next year’s budget to invest in the implementation of the many forward looking policy initiatives the Government has undertaken in the past two years. From increasing access to data, developing a research infrastructure investment Plan and fully capitalising the MRFF, there are plenty of opportunities to lay the foundations for the knowledge based economy Australia needs to prosper in the future.
Our submission also emphasises how further investment in health and medical research and innovation is central to this plan for a healthier and more productive population, a more efficient healthcare system and a more prosperous Australia.
Research Australia’s Pre-Budget submission
Research Australia’s submission in response to the NHMRC’s Peer Review Consultation has urged the NHMRC to consult further on options for a two stage application process for the Ideas Grants.
There is considerable interest within our membership and across the health and medical research sector in a two-stage application process, and while there is not yet agreement on the approach, there is an appetite for change. Research Australia believes that a two-stage application process for Ideas Grants, incorporating an abbreviated application at the first stage, provides the chance to reduce the burden on applicants and reviewers alike, while better supporting the objectives of Ideas Grants to promote innovative and novel research.
In particular, the process could provide the focus on novel and innovative ideas and reduced emphasis on track record that the NHMRC is seeking. Research Australia’s submission explores the opportunity to adopt a two-stage application process for Ideas Grants and puts forward some considerations for further investigation and consultation.
Research Australia’s submission
Research Australia’s submission to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s consultation on a Digital Economy Strategy has emphasised the importance of digital innovation in the heath sector to Australia’s economy, national wellbeing and future prosperity.
It highlights a number of current initiatives in the health sector that are relevant to digital innovation and makes twelve recommendations to improve the adoption of digital technologies in health; increase innovation in healthcare delivery; and make better use of health data.
Research Australia’s submission
With the My Health Record gaining wider acceptance, the Australian Government has commenced a consultation on how this data should be used in future for research and public health purposes. The challenge is to establish a Framework that adequately protects individuals’ identities without unnecessarily restricting who can access the data for research purposes, how they can use it, and the time it takes to get access. This is the balance that Research Australia’s submission emphasises- datasets should be as available as possible to researchers, subject to adequately protecting individuals.
The consultation paper on the Framework ruled out the use of My Health Record data for commercial purposes, which is contrary to Government policy as outlined on the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement. Another complication is that the Framework is being developed in advance of the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission Report on Data Availability, which has proposed a range of significant changes including creating a new National Data Custodian and allowing ‘trusted researchers’ to access identified data. Research Australia’s submission has emphasised the need for the Framework to be forward looking, so as to accommodate future developments is what is a fast moving policy area.