Budget 2018: Plan to make Australia a global leader in genomics welcomed

Genome.One CEO Associate Professor Marcel Dinger today welcomed the Federal Budget announcement of a new $500 million Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission – the centrepiece of a $1.3 billion health and medical research growth plan.

“This announcement heralds a huge step towards a new national approach to the integration of genomics into healthcare,” Associate Professor Dinger said. “We are already developing systems to help make genomic information accessible and actionable across the healthcare system and this will add new impetus to that vision.”

The landmark $500 million commitment over 10 years is the largest disbursement to date from the Medical Research Future Fund, and includes $10.7 million in 2017-18 for genomics research.

A global leader in genomics

The Budget Fact Sheet stated that the Mission would help Australians to live longer and better through access to genomics knowledge and technology, and bring hope to those suffering untreatable and life threatening diseases and cancers. 

“It will position Australia as a global leader in genomics research, investment and technology,” it states.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said first genomics project would be a $20 million pre-conception screening trial for rare and debilitating birth disorders including Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Fragile X and cystic fibrosis, dubbed “Mackenzie’s Mission”. 

Associate Professor Dinger said genomic and genetic information had extraordinary value throughout the life cycle. He said other applications that could help drive forward the genomics transformation included:

  • Diagnosis of rare and genetic disease in children and adults
  • Cancer predisposition testing
  • Cardiac disease testing
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Testing for many other genetic conditions that enable early intervention and monitoring or lifestyle change.

Associate Professor Dinger also welcomed the pledge of a further $707 million in funding from the Medical Research Future Fund to support the Frontier Health and Medical Research program, expanded clinical trials, biomedtech programs and industry researcher collaborations.

Find out more

  • Read Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt’s Budget announcement
  • View the FactSheet on the National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan – Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission