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Disappointment over aid budget but relief NHMRC funding retained

Burnet Institute

09 May, 2012

The Burnet Institute has joined Australia’s aid agencies and the community in expressing disappointment that the Federal Government has delayed increases to Australia’s aid budget.

Last night’s Budget revealed the government won’t increase aid to 0.5 per cent of national income by 2015, reducing Australia’s commitment to aid by $2.9 billion over the next four years.

Head of Burnet’s Centre for International Health, Professor Mike Toole said by postponing this increase, the government ensure that Australia remains in the bottom half of donor countries.

“Five European countries are three time more generous than Australia. Since 2010, annual development aid by wealthy countries has declined by $12 billion leading to the cancellation of a funding round by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria,” Professor Toole said.

“This budget measure will evidently save the government almost $3 billion, the cost of immunising all newborn children in the world’s poorest 72 countries against life-threatening infectious diseases.”

While the Institute is disappointed at the delay of the aid budget increase, it is pleased the government has committed to retaining funding to the National Health and Medical Research Funding Council (NHMRC) at the same level as 2011.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan announced that $760.5 million would be available for medical research for the coming year.

Burnet Institute Deputy Director, Associate Professor David Anderson said he is pleased the funding was retained as it will enable researchers to carry on with their important work.

“Australia has made a significant contribution to medical research that has real impacts on the health of individuals and populations, and this funding will allow researchers to continue that contribution, developing and trialling breakthrough drugs, vaccines and diagnostics,” Associate Professor Anderson said.

“However this only reinforces our disappointment over the deferral of the promised increase in aid funding, which is essential to reduce the disparity between health and development outcomes in Australia and the poorest countries of the world”.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Brendan Crabb AC

Director and CEO; Co-Head Malaria Research Laboratory; Chair, Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI)

Telephone

+61392822174

Email

brendan.crabb@burnet.edu.au

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