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Australian Cancer Research Foundation Reception, Government House


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good afternoon, all.

Linda and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House for this Australian Cancer Research Foundation reception.

It’s great to be able to host functions at Yarralumla again. Our events and visits program is starting to ramp up and everywhere we go, despite the challenges of the past year, people are optimistic that 2021 will be a better year.

Much has happened since this corresponding ceremony last year. The bushfire season was about to take a turn for the worst, to be followed immediately by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been a terribly difficult past 12 months for many Australians. Homes lost, lives turned upside down, loved ones passed away or, in the case of the bushfires, killed in tragic circumstances — tough times. For many people, 2020 has been the most challenging year of their lives.

One of the challenges has been learning to live within the confines of the restrictions. One of the downsides is that many Australians have stopped going to the doctor. They have been worried about catching the virus. The messaging from the Government and the health profession is that people should not neglect their health and should continue to see their doctor where appropriate. Why? — and this is a worst case scenario — because for someone who has cancer and doesn’t yet know it, a delay in seeing their doctor could result in a more advanced stage of cancer at diagnosis.

Unfortunately, diseases do not take turns.

It is estimated that more than 145,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in Australia in 2020 alone.

So while we address current challenges we must keep striving to create a world without cancer. We simply must fund and support new and innovative cancer research. That’s why the work of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation is so important.

And, so, as Patron of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, I’m delighted to announce that the Foundation will provide six million dollars of critical funding for equipment to support three bold and innovative projects:

  • $3 million to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in NSW to enable real-time imaging deep inside cancer tissue
  • $1.2 million to the University of Queensland Centre for Advanced Imaging to enable the targeting of radiometals
  • $1.8 million to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria to enable immuno and radiation therapies.

Congratulations to the recipients.

To all involved in these projects — you are among the brightest minds in cancer research and are helping to outsmart cancer. Your work is critical and helps improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Well done. We wish you every success.

I want to say a few words about the Foundation to finish.

Over the course of 36 years, it has provided more than $165 million worth of funding to 78 cutting-edge cancer projects across 42 institutes, hospitals and universities around Australia.

What an outstanding contribution to our community.

The Foundation is well respected both at home and abroad. Its work in facilitating and accelerating research, and attracting international scientists, augurs well for the future. We also recognise the valuable contribution made by philanthropists, donors and corporate supporters, and those who organise fundraising activities.

It’s a team effort. Let’s hope that in years to come we collectively create a world without cancer.

Thank you, all, for your incredible commitment.