Today I launch the Australian Government’s Indo-Pacific Health Security Initiative to combat the challenges of existing and emerging infectious diseases for Australia and our region.
Australia’s health security is linked to the health security of our Indo-Pacific neighbours. In an inter-connected world, diseases such as Ebola, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and Zika Virus do not respect borders. A major epidemic could potentially disrupt tourism, trade, investment and people movement, setting back regional economic growth and development.
An investment of $300 million over five years will support efforts to prevent and contain disease outbreaks that have the potential to cause large scale economic impacts on a national, regional or global scale. Led by the new Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Initiative will strengthen health systems and invest in research and partnerships to mitigate the social and economic risks of a major disease outbreak.
Under the Initiative up to $75 million is available for Product Development Partnerships that address drug resistance in tuberculosis and malaria and innovations for vector control. I also call on applicants to compete for $16 million for applied health research with a focus on health systems and policy research that contributes to health security.
Other initial investments include:
- $20 million over four years to the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program;
- A new partnership with the Therapeutic Goods Administration working in the region to make the approval processes for new drugs and diagnostics more efficient; and
- A new Health Security Corps, which places Australian health professionals in the region.
The Initiative builds on the Australian Government’s regional health security election commitment of $100 million under The Coalition's Policy for a Safe and Prosperous Australia with an additional $200 million. Through investing in Australian expertise and bringing together the efforts of governments, universities, civil society and the private sector, it will promote a stable and prosperous region.
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