A new tropical health and research facility, officially opened in Townsville today, is set to cement the region’s reputation as a world leader in tropical health and medicine, according to Townsville-based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald.
Senator Macdonald, who represented the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, at the official opening of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) at James Cook University (JCU), said the new multi-million dollar facility was central to building Australia’s research and training capacity in virology, disease and transmission control.
“I am proud to say that here in the North, we are now leading the way globally when it comes to research and technical training opportunities, thanks to the expert team we have right here at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University,” Senator Macdonald said.
“This expertise has catapulted the region on to the centre stage, and provides a firm foundation from which we can continue to pursue not only improved health outcomes, but enhanced economic and development opportunities for the whole of Northern Australia.
“Today’s official opening brings to fruition the Australian Government’s $42 million commitment to the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, that I announced on behalf of the Coalition prior to both the 2010 and 2013 elections. This commitment was reinforced with a similar commitment from the then Queensland State Government.
The Townsville facility complements the Cairns Institute which was launched earlier this year.
“I am pleased to be able to stand here today alongside such distinguished guests as Dr Michael Wooldridge, Professor Ian Wronski and Professor Sandra Harding and Professor Schofield who’ve all played a pivotal role in making today a reality,” Senator Macdonald said.
The new AITHM research facility at JCU Townsville will focus on the translation and commercialisation of research into new therapeutics and diagnostics, as well as facilitate programs to prevent and treat tuberculosis, the development of malaria vaccines and research into peripheral artery disease.
The AITHM Townsville facility has been supported through $8 million in Australian Research Council funding (as part of the $42 million commitment by the Australian Government), and $21.49 million from the Queensland State Government.