City of Ballarat has welcomed the announcement that the Federal Opposition will provide $10 million in funding to the Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration for Health (BIRCH) should it win government at the 18 May federal election.
Ballarat Mayor Councillor Samantha McIntosh says BIRCH is one of six projects advocated for as part of the successful Ballarat Now and Into the Future (BNIF) campaign which Council initiated last year with support from key stakeholder partners.
“BIRCH will be a unique regional health and research collaboration bringing together the research facilities of Ballarat’s public and private hospitals and universities into an innovative health care research hub in the Ballarat Health, Knowledge and City Living Precinct”, Cr McIntosh said.
“BIRCH will enhance capacity to guide new health job creation, new investment opportunities and to collaborate with universities to build industry research and development capacity. It will support Ballarat’s medical students to undertake mandatory research locally and create local career research pathways.
“Research will focus on acute health, aged care, integrated care and primary care research disciplines, with an emphasis on research which brings multiple benefits – serving community health care needs, providing investment opportunities and creating employment for researchers, research support workers and associated health care staff. It will have capacity to service the broader Grampians region through tele-education”.
“I hope that the Federal Government will recognise the value BIRCH will bring this region and match the $10 million in funding announced”, Mayor McIntosh said.
Federal Member for Ballarat and Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, Catherine King, added BIRCH aims to have 300 researchers within 10 years, and more than 1,000 working and living in the region within 20 years.
“Ballarat is already a hub of medical care, innovation and research – and this investment will make that even better,” Ms King said.
“The ultimate outcome of this research, training and investment will be better medical care for residents of Ballarat, western Victoria, and the wider community.”
The hospitals and universities involved in the project are:
- St John of God Hospital
- Ballarat Base Hospital
- Federation University
- Deakin University
- Melbourne University
- Australian Catholic University
- Notre Dame University
- La Trobe University