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Government invests a further $190 million in health and medical research

Media Release
Minister for Health and Aged Care
Minister for Sport
The Hon Sussan Ley MP

The Australian Government has announced a further $190 million in health and medical research, including a $10.6 million investment supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said these new grants—awarded through the National Health and Medical Research Council—would help Australia’s research community to make discoveries that improve the diagnosis, treatment and cure of illnesses that can affect Indigenous Australians.

“We know there is much work to be done with Indigenous health outcomes. This government is committed to making long-term improvements in Indigenous health and providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers,” Ms Ley said.

The announcement includes $2.5 million for a Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) to build Indigenous research capacity and to find solutions to alcohol-related health problems.

The Centre, led by Professor Kate Conigrave at the University of Sydney, will build a strong network of Indigenous researchers with expertise in preventing and treating alcohol-related problems.

“The Centre will bring together senior Indigenous and non-Indigenous investigators at organisations including the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council South Australia and the Inala Indigenous Health Service,” Professor Conigrave said.

“Together, these investigators have an extensive track record in research, clinical work and policy development.”

Professor Conigrave brings significant experience working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to target substance misuse. She said this funding would provide a major pathway forward in research to reduce the harms from alcohol among Indigenous Australians.

“Indigenous Australians are eight times more likely to suffer death or illness as a result of alcohol use, yet there is a critical shortage of Indigenous researchers with expertise in this field.

“The team will generate new knowledge, integrating efforts along the continuum of treatment and prevention for unhealthy alcohol use. The Centre is designed to ensure that evidence will be readily translated into practice and policy.

“The CRE also offers a range of training and development opportunities to Indigenous research students and early-career researchers. It will provide pathways into postgraduate research study for Indigenous Australians, with comprehensive support and training at every step along the way,” Professor Conigrave explained.

Together with this CRE, NHMRC has committed to fund research targeting a range of other health issues for Indigenous Australians including:

  • improving outcomes of Hepatitis B infection
  • improving diet quality and food supply in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • implementing interventions to improve health and justice outcomes for Indigenous offenders
  • addressing the high rates of depression amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Full media release available here.