The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Peter Costello

Peter Costello

Treasurer

11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Transcript of 07/06/2006

Doorstop Interview

Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery
Fitzroy, Melbourne

Wednesday, 7 June 2006

SUBJECTS: Australian heart tissue breakthrough

TREASURER:

Well this is a great breakthrough for the Microsurgery Institute here at St Vincent’s for all the staff. To see cells which can actually be transplanted into a living animal and grow tissue, that is, beating heart tissue or cells which can produce insulin, is a major breakthrough, a major breakthrough for Australian medical science and it has a long way to go but if you can think of the possibilities of growing living tissue, taking patients’ cells and growing inside their own body living tissue, which would be used to repair their own organs, this is the business of medical research. Australia is very good at it and I want to pay tribute to the Bernard O’Brien Institute at St Vincent’s hospital for this major breakthrough and it is something which I think will have the capacity to improve the lives of many Australians.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer what are the ramifications monetarily for a country that spends $7 billion annually on cardiovascular disease?

TREASURER:

If we have the ability to treat cardiovascular disease, not only can we improve people’s lives but by keeping people healthier and joining in the workforce we can cut some of that medical expense. So the ability to treat cardiovascular disease has enormous economic advantages for our country and personal advantages of course for people who would otherwise have shorter lives or unhealthy lives. There are a lot of people who have to live with cardiovascular disease which inhibits the things they can do so they have a worse quality of life so treating cardiovascular disease gives you better quality of life and economically it will pay off for our country.

JOURNALIST:

Is this a strong case for more funding going into this area?

TREASURER:

Oh yes, we had the biggest increase in funding ever in last month’s federal Budget. We have now had a five-fold increase since 1995-96 to medical research. These are the kind of payoffs from a small amount - $300,000 some years ago - you are starting to see developments like this come, with $700 million per annum. Imagine the developments that we can see in the future.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer the nuclear enquiry, should it be broadened to look at the merits say of carbon taxes?

TREASURER:

Well why don’t you come to my press conference – 4 Treasury place at 12 o’clock and I will have answers for all of you on that.

JOURNALIST:

Just with the heart thing again, one more question if you don’t mind, any personal experience with cardiovascular disease in the family? Is it something that is close to you?

TREASURER:

Well look it is something that affects all of us. It has affected I think every Australian family, we know that it can take loved ones from us and if we can treat cardiovascular disease with new techniques like this families won’t go through the suffering, people will have better standards of life and Australia will be a stronger country. Thanks.