2022-23 October Federal Budget round up

2022-23 October Federal Budget round up

25th October, 2022

The following is a summary of the main announcements in the 2022-23 October Federal Budget – the first budget delivered by the new Federal Government. If there is a specific item that has not been covered below but you would like further information then please contact AAMRI’s Executive Director, Policy and Operations, Dr Andrew Hastings (andrew.hastings@aamri.org.au).

This summary has been put together on Budget night but will be updated in the coming days with any other Budget announcements that are subsequently uncovered.

1 Summary

It was a relatively quiet budget for the health and medical research sector.

While there was a slight increase in NHMRC’s budget over the forward estimates, the MRFF and ARC remain steady.

In this Budget, there are some special initiatives announced that may be of interest to our sector. While the impact won’t be felt immediately, the most notable of these is the provision of $3.2 million in 2022–23 for work to design the establishment of an Australian Centre for Disease Control (CDC). It is hoped that with the establishment of the CDC, research opportunities will become available. In addition to this, there were other initiatives, details of which can be found in section four.

Support for research through the university block grants and the CRC Program will be slightly higher than outlined in the previous Budget. This is largely because of a slightly higher indexation being applied.

2 Medical Research Future Fund

2.1 MRFF total planned expenditure on medical research

There are no changes to forecast expenditure on medical research through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The Budget is providing $650 million for new medical research projects each year from 2022-23 forwards.

Likewise, there are no changes outside those introduced with the second MRFF Ten Year Investment Plan 2022-23 to 2031-32 announced early this year.

2.2 MRFF – balance of fund

The expectation that the MRFF will take on a more aggressive investment strategy which would result in enhanced returns, does not seem to have eventuated, likely due to the volatility in the market. A lower-than-expected MRFF balance is forecast over the next three years, with the balance of the fund in 2025-26 now expected to reach $22.8 billion.

3 Research Council Funding

3.1 National Health and Medical Research Council

While no new additional funding was announced for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) over the forward estimates, the increase is higher than the indexation amounts forecast in the previous Budget. NHMRC’s Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA) budget is set to be around $20 million per year higher by 2025-26 than forecast in the previous Budget.

3.2 Australian Research Council

3.2.1 Overall level of ARC research funding

No new funding was announced for the Australian Research Council (ARC) overall. The slight increase in forward estimates is in line with indexation.

3.2.2 ARC Discovery program

Investment through the ARC Discovery Program is set to be around $37 million per year higher by 2025-26 than forecast in the previous Budget.

3.2.3 ARC Linkage program

Investment through the ARC Linkage Program is set to be slightly higher in 2025-26 than forecast in the previous Budget in line with indexation.

4 Notable new expenditure, savings, and revenue measures

The following covers areas that may have a direct or indirect impact on AAMRI members.

4.1 Australian Centre for Disease Control

The Government will provide $3.2 million in 2022–23 to undertake the initial design for the establishment of an Australian Centre for Disease Control. The design work will incorporate stakeholder consultations to ensure the new Centre will support improved pandemic preparedness and response, as well as the prevention of chronic disease.

4.2 Comprehensive Cancer Centres

The Government will provide $452 million over 6 years from 2022–23 to support the establishment of world class cancer centres in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Funding includes:

  • $375 million over 6 years from 2022–23 to contribute to the establishment of the Queensland Cancer Centre in Brisbane. The centre will be owned and operated by the Queensland Government and will be located within the Herston Health Precinct at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
  • $77 million over 5 years from 2022–23 to contribute to the establishment of the Bragg Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Adelaide. The centre is an extension of the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

The centres will provide multi-disciplinary cancer care, research, and clinical trials for all types of cancers.

4.3 Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health

The Government will provide $15.9 million over 4 years from 2022–23 (and $6.6 million per year ongoing) to establish and support a National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health.

The centre will deliver a central hub of expertise, resources and research on the health care of people with intellectual disability and provide leadership in meeting the needs of people with intellectual disability.

4.4 Climate change

The Government will provide $3.4 million over 4 years from 2022–23 (and $0.7 million per year ongoing) to develop a National Health and Climate Strategy and establish a National Health Sustainability and Climate Unit. This unit will address emerging health risks resulting from climate change and coordinate climate change responses across the health system.

4.5 National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality

The Government will provide additional funding of $3.1 million in 2022-23 to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to enable the Office for Women to:

  • develop a National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality
  • support the independent Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce
  • provide support across government for the implementation of Gender Responsive Budgeting and Gender Impact Assessments.

4.6 National Reconstruction Fund – establishment

The Government will invest $15 billion over 7 years from 2023–24 to establish the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) to support, diversify and transform Australian industry and the economy through targeted co-investments in 7 priority areas: resources; agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors; transport; medical science; renewables and low emission technologies; defence capability; and enabling capabilities.

Funding includes:

  • $15 billion in targeted co-investments through independently assessed projects
  • $50 million over two years from 2022–23 to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, and the Department of Finance to establish the NRF.

The NRF is expected to generate revenue from investments, which will be quantified as part of the policy and legislation design of the NRF, following public consultation.

5 Forecast expenditure/savings in other ongoing programs relating to medical research

5.1 University research block grants

5.1.1 Research Support Program

Support through the Research Support Program for universities is expected to be slightly higher than anticipated in the previous Budget with indexation being provided at a higher rate.

5.1.2 Research Training Program

Support through the Research Training Program (which fund Higher Research Degrees) is expected to be slightly higher than anticipated in the previous Budget with indexation being provided at a higher rate.

5.2 National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy

Funding for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) continues in line with the forward estimates set out last year.

5.3 CRC Program

Support through the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program is expected to be slightly higher than anticipated in the previous Budget with indexation being provided at a higher rate.

5.4 ANSTO

Budgeted expenses through ANSTO are not forecast to change compared to the previous Budget.