Health research to face chopping block in Budget

HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon has given her clearest indication yet that health research funding cuts are likely in next month’s Federal Budget, sparking fresh warnings of the dire impact on the sector.

In an interview discussing where the Government may look to find savings, Ms Roxon told News Limited papers last week she had a “difficult message” for researchers.

As the Government aimed to return to surplus by 2012–13, Ms Roxon said the NHMRC “have had increased funding each year we have been in government [and] they haven’t been subject to any savings measures in any previous Budgets”.

Experts have warned hundreds of lifesaving medical research projects will be frozen, healthcare reforms would be undermined and Australia’s international reputation for research severely dented if the Federal Government imposes widely anticipated cuts to NHMRC funding of as much as $400 million.