PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11330


Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/03/1999

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 11330


Well thank you very much for those words of welcome and it is nice

to be back. And I've come here today to announce that the Federal

Government will provide financial support for the activities of the

Integrated Cancer Programme which of course is a joint activity of

the Centenary Institute and the Cancer Centre. There is no audience

in Australia better aware of the fact that cancer leaves virtually

no family in our nation unaffected. And although medical advances

have contributed immeasurably to the relief of suffering from cancer

and the longevity of life of people affected by cancer, much more

needs to be done. And in recognition of that, successive federal governments

of both political persuasions have given assistance to a variety of


The National Cancer Control Initiative was announced by the present

Government in the last budget. We've provided new funding for

prostate and other cancers, continuing funding of the National Breast

Cancer Centre, and the National Screening Programme for breast and

cervical cancer. And through the National Health and Medical Research

Council we provide $23 million in the current year for cancer research.

But I want to announce today that the Commonwealth Government will

provide support for a new programme to implement that approach in

Australia. And the programme will undertake laboratory and clinical

research and apply those results through

multi-disciplinary cancer treatment and education. As you know the

proposal for the Integrated Cancer Programme comes from the partnership

between the Sydney Cancer Centre and the Centenary Institute. And

the programme will provide an integrated research and care role for

cancer sufferers and move cancer research in Australia into the next


The partnership between these two groups is well established and well

known. The centre was established in January 1996 at the Royal Prince

Alfred, King George V, and Concord Hospitals. And the centre is the

largest cancer treating centre in Australia, admitting in excess of

22,000 cancer patients and treating over 70,000 out-patients every


The institute was established in 1985 to commemorate 100 years of

research and clinical excellence at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and

the University of Sydney Medical School. And the institute was established

to provide both New South Wales and Australia with a research centre

of excellence at the forefront of advances in prevention, diagnosis

and treatment of life threatening diseases including cancer.

The Integrated Cancer Programme has been established as a joint venture

between those two groups to bring together an optimal mix of basic

cancer research, applied laboratory research and clinical research.

And more importantly this mix will allow the rapid introduction of

new cancer research discoveries to be directly applied to the clinical

care of patients fighting cancer. And the sight chosen has close links

with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney, as well

as to population, health, cancer screening, high technology imaging

and the NHMRC Clinical Trials Unit.

The laboratory based cancer research will deliberately focus on existing

areas of research showing the greatest promise for significant advances

in the understanding and the treatment of cancer. And these will include

genetic changes leading to cancer cell growth, a gene therapy programme

to identify abnormal genes, and ways to circumvent cancer cell resistance

to anti-cancer drugs.

There will be close monitoring of the results of new treatments identified

by research. And the Cancer Clinical Trials Programme will develop

and evaluate new cancer therapies on a large scale in partnership

with international cancer organsiations and the pharmaceutical industry.

And this will include world-wide acquisition of the most promising

new anti-cancer products. The injection of federal funding will allow

the Integrated Cancer Programme to continue to develop this approach

and to recruit back to Australia high profile Australian cancer specialists

and researchers currently working overseas.

I'm delighted that in the past year, six world leading Australian

cancer specialists have been successfully recruited to work in the

new Integrated Cancer Programme. And the Commonwealth is providing

initial support to this very worthwhile venture to ensure that cancer

sufferers have access to the best and latest available treatments.

We believe that following this initial Commonwealth investment that

the success of the venture will encourage funding from other funding

agencies and from commercial and international pharmaceutical and

biotechnology companies.

Cancer, as I said at the beginning of my remarks, is a disease that

touches just about every Australian family and has a major impact

on sufferers and those close to them. It touches us all and the Integrated

Cancer Programme devised by the institute and the centre seeks to

relieve some of that suffering.

The total cost of this very worthy endeavor is $6 million. The Commonwealth

announces today federal funding of $3 million and I have every reason

to believe that this will be matched by the New South Wales Government

so that the total amount will be made available. Ladies and gentleman,

this is in every sense of the well worn but very apt expression, a

very worthy endeavor.

I have long said that Australia has scientists, medical researchers,

doctors, and others working in the area of preventative health, in

the area of treatment and the area of the relief of suffering which

are not exceeded in ability by people anywhere in the world. The 21st

century will be very much a century in which those who are at the

forefront of research, and most importantly those who are able to

match the results of research immediately with clinical treatment,

will be those who will make the greatest contribution to the relief

of human suffering.

The intellectual capital of Australia is one of its most precious

assets. Sometimes in the past we have not done enough to preserve

it and we have not done enough to fully exploit it and take full advantage

of it, not only for the benefit of our citizens but also for the benefit

of the citizens of the world. I admire the work of people who work

in any field of research. I admire those who work in the medical profession

in Australian and I admire the work of this institute and of this

centre. And I hope the announcement I have made today lays the foundation

for ongoing support both at a State Government and a private sector

level for what is a project that I believe will bring great relief

of suffering and will provide an inspiration to the research efforts

of many Australians and will continue the process of people of great

ability previously enticed overseas, returning to work in their homeland

and to give to Australia the benefits of their great intellectual

and research capacity. Thank you very much.


Transcript 11330