Hansard of the Legislative
14 April 2011
NATIONAL HEALTH AND MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL FUNDING
Matter of Urgent Public Importance
Mr FINCH - It has been interesting to reminisce a little
while I have been hearing the motion and the contributions
from honourable members, and seeing the esteemed members of
our Tasmanian community here today, and taking time out to
reinforce what the honourable member for Nelson has taken
on here, this challenge of moving the motion and getting that
message through to the Federal Government. I think it is significant
that members of the fraternity of the Menzies Research Institute
have given their time to come and join us here in Parliament
today. We do appreciate that; it signals to us how much you
are concerned about the future of the Menzies Research Institute.
It is interesting to reminisce a little bit as I look at Professor
Simon Foote here. I have been remembering back a few years
ago. Bev Twibell on the north-west coast did a lot of fundraising
for the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome research. She worked
very diligently to raise the money to contribute to that issue
that was quite severe in our Tasmanian community. I know the
work that was done at the Menzies Research Institute was significant
in helping us to combat that issue, get the research done
and to have that evidence to present that made such a difference
for young parents, particularly, who had that fear pervading
the lives of their families. So it was interesting to see
you here again, and I know that you attended those gatherings
that we had. It was a great fillip to us and a great support
to enable us to keep working for the fundraising for SIDS.
Also I reflect back on the work of Professor Terry Dwyer.
I know, with the member for Nelson being from the sporting
fraternity, how important his contribution was to the research
centre. He helped build a solid foundation of understanding
in our community of what the organisation was about. Unfortunately,
he moved on in his career but his foundation work remains
and we have seen the Menzies Research Institute grow, prosper
and develop to the situation that we are in now where we have
that fabulous facility there to provide the environment in
which to continue the work.
This is an unfortunate development when the Federal Government
looks to cut their budget. As has been mentioned here earlier,
governments need to do that from time to time because financial
circumstances dictate that. However, it is a bit like when
I was working many years ago in advertising; it seemed to
be that the easiest budget to cut was the advertising and
marketing budget. I know somebody who is involved in the industry
is busy nodding away over the back of the crowd there and
you would well understand that circumstance and how frustrating
that can be. I think that you people would be in the same
situation where budget cuts need to be made and where is it
easiest to trim the budget; oh yes, we will take it from research.
I think it has been highlighted here by my fellow colleagues
that it is a foolish way to go about your budget cutting,
particularly with what we are hearing about the future of
Australia and particularly Tasmania with our ageing population.
That research does need to continue to enable people to develop
their lives better, particularly from their homes and to keep
that Health budget under control.
In our community we have the Clifford Craig Research Foundation
in the north of the State, which I think is a similar organisation
but not to the same level that you have down here with the
Menzies Research Institute.
Ms Forrest - And ours.
Mr FINCH - And yours as well. We understand how important
it is in our community to have that sense that we are involved
in the research programs, particularly in respect of health.
So, yes, I support the motion and thank you for bringing it
on and developing this situation where we can be part of that
message through to the Federal Government.
I support the motion.