The Medical Research Future Fund legislation will be closely scrutinised by the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee at a one day hearing in Melbourne today.
The legislation establishing the fund was referred to the committee by the Senate because of concerns it contained no independent, peer reviewed oversight of its distributions.
Instead, the Bill puts control of the distributions from the MRFF in the hands of government ministers.
When the fund was announced the 2014/15 health budget glossy explicitly stated that “Fund earnings will be directed to medical research, primarily by boosting funding for the National Health and Medical Research Council”.
Instead, the bill, as it now stands, contains no such commitment, and no mechanism for oversight of distributions from the fund by an independent, arms-length, peer reviewed expert committee.
Labor is the strongest supporter of health and medical research. But Labor believes any fund must be established in cooperation with the health and medical research community and only invest in the highest quality health and medical research, not pet projects of government ministers.
Full details of the inquiry can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Future_Fund/Public_Hearings