Research to improve Aged Care quality

Counsel assisting the Aged Care Royal Commission have made their final submissions to the Commissioners, and the public has been given the opportunity to comment on the recommendations. This was the last chance for public input before the Commissioners provide their report to the Government in early 2021.

Research Australia has followed the progress of the Royal Commission closely. We urged the inclusion of research in the Commission’s original terms of reference and we have liaised with the Commission’s officers to connect them with researchers who were able to assist the Inquiry.

We have been pleased to see the reliance the Commission has placed on research to understand the current system and its failures as well as to explore alternatives. It is clear that research can play a critical part in improving the delivery of aged care services and in helping Australians to age well, and we have welcomed the prominence the final recommendations to the Commissioners give to research.

Research Australia’s response to the final submissions document is limited to two recommendations. Recommendation 55 deals with the creation of an Aged Care Research Council with a dedicated research budget. Recommendation 56 deals with creation of a minimum national aged care dataset and the availability of data to researchers. Finally, we have responded to the request for public response to remarks made by Commissioner Briggs in respect of Research and Data Governance.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Data Availability and Transparency- Draft Bill and Accreditation Framework

Research Australia has been advocating for many years for improved access to public data for research. We made submissions to the Productivity Commission’s 2016 Inquiry into Data Availability and Use. Strongly supportive of the Commission’s recommendations, we have worked with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on the consultations which have culminated in the release of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill exposure draft and the proposed Accreditation Framework.

The Draft Bill and accompanying Accreditation Framework for researchers are broadly in line with previous consultations and discussions. Research Australia has made some recommendations designed to improve the operation of the legislation and the Framework.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

We expect the legislation to be introduced to Parliament in 2021.

Improving approval processes for new drugs and medical technologies

Research Austrlaia has responded to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Approval Processes for New Drugs and Medical Technologies.

Opportunities exist to change our approval processes to benefit patients and better support research and development in Australia. Faster and more effective approval processes mean new medicines and technologies reach patients faster. Improving the environment for clinical trials enables Australian patients to benefit from the latest medicines and technologies developed overseas while also helping Australian health and medical research to flourish in a competitive and lucrative world market. Research Australia’s submission identifies some of these opportunities with the twin objectives of improving Australians’ health and prosperity.

Research Austrlaia’s submission is available here.

The Committee is expected to hold public hearings in early 2021.

Research for Preventive Health

The Australian Government is developing a 10-year National Preventive Health Strategy, anticipated to be finalised and released in early 2021.

The Consultation has been undertaken using an electronic survey. Research Australia’s responses emphasise:

    • the critical role of research in developing new preventive health measures;
    • the need to focus on implementation and scalability as part of translating research findings into new and effective preventive health programs; and
    • the critical role of data in evaluating the effectiveness of programs.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

August 2020 Pre-Budget submission calls for new R&D investment, emergency response to COVID-19

Research Australia has taken the opportunity to use the new call from the Treasurer for Pre-Budget submissions to call for urgent assistance from the Government to support research disrupted by COVID-19.

We have proposed bridging funding be paid from a contingency fund to researchers who need the additional funding to complete research because of COVID-19 related delays. We have also called on the Government to recognise the importance of a renewed investment in research and innovation as part of Australia’s response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research Australia’s Pre-Budget Submission

COVID-19 Impact on Health and Medical Research and Innovation

Research Australia’s submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 has sought to highlight the significant and lasting impact the pandemic will have on Australian health and medical research and innovation.

Research Australia’s recommendations to the Inquiry are:

    • The establishment of a national whole of governments review of Australian research and innovation to properly quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.
    • Commitment to a comprehensive, fully funded strategy for how and where research and innovation will contribute to Australia’s future prosperity and wellbeing.
    • A short-term injection of additional Government funding into research in Australia’s universities and MRIs to preserve existing research capacity while the economy recovers.
    • Extending the JobKeeper scheme to universities would be a good place to start, as would redressing some of the rules that have prevented some MRIs from accessing JobKeeper because of their governance arrangements.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Changes to R&D Tax Incentive opposed

Research Australia has used its submission to a Senate Inquiry to argue against the latest round of changes to the R&D Tax Incentive that have been proposed by the Government.

The changes contained in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Research and Development Tax Incentive) Bill 2019 are largely the same as the changes the Senate rejected early last year. Research Australia believes the changes are poorly designed and will significantly reduce R&D in the health sector. With expenditure on the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme having fallen dramatically in the last couple of years and with Government support for R&D at an historic low, Research Australia has urged the Senate Committee to reject the changes again.

Research Austrlaia’s submission is available here.

The submission of an alliance of seven groups from across the health and medical research and innovation sector, including Research Austrlaia, is available here.

The Committee’s final report has been delayed and is now to be tabled in the Senate on 24 August.

Australian health and medical research to support our developing neighbours

Research Australia has responded to the consultation by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a new International Development Policy for Australia.

While the previous policy funded some research, Research Australia’s submission has highlighted the broader role that research can play; providing case studies of different research collaborations and projects being undertaken in the Pacific region and the contributions they are making to better health outcomes.

Research Australia’s submission.

Mental Health and the role for research in improving outcomes

Research Australia has made a submission in response to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Mental Health. Our submission has focused on recommendations related to the role of the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), evaluation and mentoring of programs, and the role for research in improving mental health outcomes and the delivery of mental healthcare services.

We have highlighted the significant expertise in program evaluation that exists in the health economics research and health services research community, and the role it could play in supporting the NHMC in evaluating programs. Our recommendations include a role for the NHMC in sponsoring research into gaps in knowledge relating to service delivery and improving the adoption of evidence based care. We have also called for researchers to be given access to data collected and used by the NHMC.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Pre Budget submission calls for renewed investment in R&D (December 2019)

Research Australia’s submission to the Treasurer ahead of the 2020-21 Budget has used the Government’s own figures showing a drop in R&D investment by Government and business to call for a renewed focus on research and development, including health and medical research. In addition to greater investment in R&D across the board, Research Australia has called for increased funding for the research programs of the NHMRC and ARC; action to make better use of data; and investment in prevention.

To read Research Australia’s submission and the full list of recommendations, click here.