Dialog Box


Federal Budget 2017


By Michelle Stewart, Head of Research & Commercial Strategy - Cure Brain Cancer Foundation  

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation welcomes some of the promising steps taken to fund projects that may benefit people impacted by brain cancer in the 2017 Federal Budget. We have been campaigning for the Federal Government to increase its focus and funding into brain cancer, and it is encouraging to see them begin to heed the voice of the brain cancer community. While these steps are a move in the right direction, we are clear that there is more work to be done. The 2017 Budget includes investment into a number of promising projects that will not only impact brain cancer, but a number of other paediatric and adolescent cancers.

Some of the key commitments that could benefit people with brain cancer in this Budget include:

  • =         A further $10.8m commitment to fight childhood cancer through research and clinical trials.
  • =         $4.4m provided to Cancer Australia for research aimed at increasing Australia’s capacity to diagnose, treat, manage and analyse childhood cancer.
  • =         An additional $1.4m for Cancer Australia to fast track international research collaborations, including support for new clinical trials led by the Australia New Zealand Children’s Haematology and Oncology Group (ANZCHOG), including support for diagnostic profiling.
  • =         $5m from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) provided to CanTeen to improve outcomes for children and young people with cancer.
  • =         $68m to bring proton beam therapy to Australia.

Fairness, opportunity and security has been trumpeted as the theme of the 2017 Budget, and we have been campaigning for an increase in Federal Government focus and funding to increase brain cancer survival, which has remained unacceptably low for too long. This Budget is an opportunity to change that. From our submissions to the MRFF, to the recently established Senate Select Committee into Funding for Research into Low Survival Cancers, increased focus and funding is something we will continue to call for on behalf of our community.

It is too early to say exactly how much of this new funding will be directly invested in brain cancer research. The AIM BRAIN project, which I will provide a separate update on, is exactly the type of large-scale infrastructure project the Federal Government can and should be investing in, and exactly the type of project we called on them to invest in via our recent Senate submission. Likewise, the establishment of a proton beam therapy centre in Adelaide will mean Australians no longer have to travel overseas for potentially life-saving treatment. These are both welcome advances.

We also look forward to hearing more about the projects that Cancer Australia will be investing in, and hope a fair share of this funding is allocated specifically to brain cancer research.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation would now like to continue to collaborate with The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt MP and the Federal Government, and co-ordinate a strategic brain cancer action plan that will quickly improve survival for all brain cancer patients, of all ages. Our mission is to increase brain cancer survival from 20 per cent to 50 per cent by 2023, and we want the Federal Government to join us on this mission. It may sound bold, but we know it is achievable with the combined support of our community and our politicians.

I firmly believe that the commitments outlined above will move us in the right direction, but there is still a lot more work to be done. We will continue to give the community a strong, loud voice until we achieve our mission and improve brain cancer survival.