Media Release: Joint industry pre-election statement on health research and development

9 May 2019

Industry is a key driver of better health outcomes in our health system, and industry-driven research and development (R&D) activities are critical to achieve this. Creating a business environment that better supports emerging and cutting-edge technologies along the pathway from discovery, through clinical trials, to patients is essential.

The health industry’s R&D, including clinical trials, is a key contributor to Australia’s economy. The signatories of this media release – from the medical technologies, biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals industry sector and the health and medical research sector – urge all political parties to adopt a common approach to R&D and to take action to support health and medical research by supporting the conditions that allow industry to do its part.

Australia’s life sciences sector has been adding more than $4 billion gross value per annum (2010 – 2015) to Australia’s economy, employs over 230,000 people, and is a world leader with a strong track record in developing new therapies to combat devastating disease.

The annual Australian businesses expenditure on R&D (BERD) declined by more than $2 billion (12%) per annum between 2014 and 2016 (the latest period for which data is available). It is now at levels not seen since the global financial crisis. AusBiotech’s 2019 research also shows that over the past 12 months there has been a ‘stinging’ drop in the industry’s confidence that the operating environment (economic conditions and public policy) was conducive to growing a biotech business (37% to 14%) and a strong increase in the view that the operating environment was working against the industry (16% to 26%). Parliamentarians (present and future) can take action today by committing to support businesses investing in R&D: the key to boosting BERD.

BERD is critical to health and medical research, and all Australians – from bench, to business, to bedside – will benefit when this declining trajectory is reversed.

Supporting BERD supports the country’s overall GDP. Government needs to increase Australia’s R&D expenditure to three per cent of GDP in the short to medium term – a desirable pursuit which will help to discover new life-enhancing technologies and improve existing ones. We note Labor’s commitment yesterday to “making the R&D tax incentive work” and their target of devoting three per cent of GDP to research. Increasing expenditure in R&D will benefit the full health and medical research pipeline. Australia will be able to facilitate innovative technological developments and capitalise on the benefits the technologies bring if it further enhances the current R&D and business conditions that exist here.

To reverse this trend in declining R&D expenditure, we urge that the R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI) is preserved for the sector. Utilising tax incentives will ensure that Australia realises the social and economic benefits from R&D investment, before a tax incentive can be obtained. The R&D Tax Incentive is the most critical centre-piece programme for raising business investment in R&D and for the translation of Australia’s world-class research into treatments, cures, diagnostics, medical devices and vaccines. The programme has been successful in attracting more long-term investment in R&D, creating highly-skilled jobs, and fostering a strong Australian life sciences clinical trials and R&D sector within a globally competitive space. The structure of the RDTI is a significant and valuable economic activator.

Committing to preserving the R&D Tax Incentive for the sector would enable government to make an immediate contribution to creating high-value jobs, attracting clinical research, growing the economy, and improving health outcomes for Australians. Beyond the economic benefit to Australia, the life science industry’s R&D is developing life enhancing and saving interventions around the world, allowing Australia to continue to thrive as a home for some of the world’s most talented scientists and medical researchers, and improve its position as a centre for high quality medical R&D.

The intellectual property (IP) developed during R&D and underpinning the value of cutting-edge technologies is globally portable. The proposed Australian Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) incentive has been developed as a complementary tax incentive policy to support and retain home-grown IP locally, and to support manufacturing and innovation. It encourages the research activities funded by Australia to stay in Australia long term, instead of going offshore. Australian-based companies can choose from multiple countries all operating with no or low tax jurisdictions. To remain globally competitive, Australia needs to adopt a comparable solution. The AIM incentive is amongst one of a few policies that would create favourable economic conditions to help address this need.








Media enquiries: Karen Parr, Communications Manager, AusBiotech, / P: +61 (0) 3 9828 1414 / M: +61 (0) 409 117 287

About AusBiotech
AusBiotech is Australia’s biotechnology organisation, working on behalf of members for more than 30 years to provide representation and services to promote the global growth of Australian biotechnology. AusBiotech is a well-connected network of over 3,000 members in the life sciences, including therapeutics, medical technology (devices and diagnostics), food technology and agricultural, environmental and industrial sectors.

About Medicines Australia
Medicines Australia represents the discovery‐driven pharmaceutical industry in Australia. Our member companies invent, manufacture and supply innovative medicines and vaccines to the Australian community, which keeps Australians out of hospitals, prevents disease and play a pivotal role in ensuring a productive and healthy community. Medicines Australia’s mission is to drive the creation and development of a predictable environment for the continued, sustainable growth of the innovative and research based prescription medicines industry.

About MTAA
The Medical Technology Association of Australia represents manufacturers, exporters and suppliers of medical technology products used in the diagnostics, prevention, treatment and management of disease and disability.

About ARCS Australia
ARCS Australia Ltd is a national, membership-based organisation focused on the development and growth of the healthcare sector. ARCS provides education, career pathways, professional development and advocacy to the healthcare sector.

About Research Australia
Research Australia is the national peak body representing the entire health and medical research pipeline advocating for health and medical research in Australia. Independent of government, Research Australia’s activities are funded by its partners, donors and supporters from leading research organisations, academic institutions, philanthropy, community special interest groups, peak industry bodies, biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical companies, small businesses and corporate Australia. Research Australia has developed a pre-election statement on behalf of Australia’s health and medical research sector.

About BioMelbourne Network
The BioMelbourne Network is a membership‐based, industry forum representing over 185 organisations and business leaders in biotechnology, medical technology and health innovation industries in the State of Victoria. Our role is to foster links between companies, research organisations, financial markets and government to create an environment for that enables conversation, collaboration and prosperity.

About Biomedical Research Victoria
BioMedical Research Victoria is the only collective voice for Victoria’s health and medical research community. We are a not-forprofit membership alliance that includes universities, academic hospitals, medical research institutes, CSIRO and other research organisations. BioMedVic represents the diverse interests of Victoria’s health and medical research organisations into key Victorian Government committees and departments and is a trusted supporter of state government initiatives and funding schemes.


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