Recap: Meet the Shadow Minister – a ‘fireside chat’ with David Southwick. MP

This BioMelbourne Network event recap was written by our Policy and Research Officer, Dr Kim Pham.

Industry leaders, innovators, peak bodies and ASX-listed companies in the health industry recently participated in a Town Hall conversation with Shadow Minister for Innovation David Southwick, MP, and explored the Liberal’s vision and priorities for health innovation. The event, held at Federation Square and hosted by CSL on Wednesday 3 October, gave BioMelbourne Network members unique insights in the lead up to the state election.

The spotlight was on David Southwick, perched upon a bar stool along with Dr Krystal Evans, CEO of BioMelbourne Network, and roving mics for Q&A. The conversation focussed on David’s vision for Victoria and in taking a leadership role in making the health industry an economic priority for Victoria. Topics covered included:

  • the healthy industry (biotech/medicine) as one of six economic priority areas for innovation
  • focussing on ‘grow ups’ as well as ‘start ups’, to assist companies in the whole commercialisation pipeline and bringing their product to market
  • targeting people upskilling, partnerships and programs.
  • promoting bipartisan support on state initiatives for the health industry, including advances in the Industry 4.0 revolution such as AI
  • a $9 million innovation voucher program over four years of up to $400,000 under a future Liberal-National government, accessible to Victorian Start-Ups and SMEs to drive innovation, industry collaboration and growth. The innovation voucher program would focus on six key areas of Victorian competitive advantage, one of which will be Victoria’s world-class biotech and medtech industries.

Interest peaked in the room during question time when discussing the challenges and opportunities for a Matthew Guy government. Asked how to bridge the gap between innovators and government, David addressed the need to reduce the divide between state and federal government and avoid duplication of resources. BioMelbourne Network members also challenged David to how Australian innovators could get Australian adoption and procurement, and how a Matthew Guy government would address the gaps in commercialisation skills. Bipartisan support of the health industry beyond the election cycle and a skills audit of the health workforce were some of the next steps David proposed that would address these future challenges.

Dr Krystal Evans concluded by saying, “We need to be bringing all these partners together in an industry-led way, to carve better pathways to patients.”

BioMelbourne Network thanks their members for attending this forum where the health industry meets government.

Read more about BioMelbourne Network’s health industry priorities for Victoria 2018 state election.

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