Topics: New $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund, innovation in existing businesses
Greg Hunt, good morning to you.
And good morning Jon.
What is the Biomedical Translation Fund for $500 million?
So basically it's a fund which takes $250 million of Government money, $250 million or more of private sector money, and then invests in commercialising new science – turning it into products for the public.
So two big benefits – one is of course jobs and investment, particularly in Melbourne but throughout Australia, especially in the medical space.
But also human benefits for people – It could be new treatments for diabetes, it could be things- the equivalent of a Gardasil or the cochlear implant.
So Australia has an incredible medical research capacity, our gap has been in commercialising it and in particular bringing the benefits early to the public but also the benefits to the Australian economy not other economies.
But doesn't – Isn't that what the private sector partners are already doing?
Why do we need to kick in $250 million of taxpayers’ money to help them do what they're going to do because they'll make money out of it?
Well the goal is that this will actually achieve a net return for taxpayers.
But one of the gaps in Australia has been in that mid-stage commercialisation.
So what does it mean for the public? It means that there's money for research – we have with the Melbourne Medical Precinct around Melbourne University, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, one of the three great medical precincts, along with Boston and the University of Cambridge.
But taking that and commercialising it has often seen the products go overseas, the funding and the profits go overseas.
So if we're doing this great research let's try to fill a hole in the Australian system.
This is what Malcolm Turnbull has done his whole career, it's what I've been involved in.
And so we're creating this fund to drive the jobs and to drive the human benefits – whether it's a new treatment for kidney disease, a new treatment for diabetes, it could be dealing with hearing deficiency, sight improvement – things that translate to human benefits.
Sure. The snoring technology, the anti-snoring technology that was developed here in Melbourne as well which is another example that's gone global.
But the intriguing thing is that all of this new economy, innovation, science, technology in fact was seen as a liability not an asset in the last federal election campaign.
In fact it cost you support. The people left behind by this new economy were the people who abandoned your part in the last election.
So one of the things that I very consciously and deliberately want to do is focus on innovation as being about job security for people from all walks of life, and job creation.
Let me give you an example. I visited Melbourne Garages, which is a business on the Mornington Peninsula in Hastings only a week ago.
It's not complex manufacturing – what they do is they create different types of garages – but the innovation for them is that they do everything for somebody, from the planning permits to the design, to the construction, to…
Well that's not particularly innovative.
But they've changed the business model.
So it's not just about inventing a new rocket, it's how you can change your business.
You might be a coffee roaster developing new different types of pods.
You might be a mechanic who's sending out warnings to clients.
So we kill the car industry and say oh well, that's too bad, we'll have science instead. That's not going to work.
No, it's interesting, I looked at the funding that went to the car industry – $300 million for each of the big car manufacturers, and the firm still made the decision to go overseas.
It's these new jobs that can be created in existing businesses that I really want to focus on.
Greg Hunt, Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science, making that announcement this morning.