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Opening of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Child Cancer Liquid Biopsy Program, UNSW Sydney, Kensington, NSW


Good morning.

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

It is a delight for Linda and me to be with you all on this significant day in the life of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and Children’s Cancer Institute.

The Foundation and the Institute are wonderful organisations.

Today, we see yet another product of their partnership and what can be achieved with teamwork, brilliant minds, a common purpose and funding.

ACRF’s Child Cancer Liquid Biopsy Program moves us a step closer to curing childhood cancer. It is a credit to all involved.

I’ve been saying ‘thank you’ quite a bit lately.

Why? Because Linda and I continue to witness first-hand the best of Australia and Australians, both here and abroad.

Last weekend we presided over two National Emergency Medal presentation ceremonies, in Bairnsdale and Cobargo.

One hundred and fifty-five Australians were presented with a Medal in recognition of their efforts during the 2019-20 fires. As a nation it is important that we do that and say thank you.

Earlier that week we hosted 11 Investiture ceremonies at Government House, where another iteration of ‘the best of Australia’ was on show.

And the previous week Linda and I were in Fiji, representing Australia on official engagements, observing up close the wonderful work being done by Australians, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

I mention those events and engagements to give you an idea of the breadth of good work being done by Australians, in all sorts of places every day.

It fuels my optimism for our future.

So, too, does today’s opening of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Child Cancer Liquid Biopsy Program.

One of the things I like about ACRF is that it backs bold ideas and believes a world without cancer is possible.

Guided by some of the brightest minds in cancer research, the Foundation continuously looks for new and improved ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer.

I have said it before: your work is aspirational but founded in realism. That is a credit to you and speaks to the profound impact you have.

The ACRF Child Cancer Liquid Biopsy Program we’re opening today reaffirms that statement and inches us a step closer to the end goal of curing childhood cancer.

Liquid biopsy is a way to not only improve outcomes but to lessen the impact of childhood cancer through less invasive testing.

And less invasive testing is a wonderful thing, for the families and particularly the children – less confronting, less traumatic.

There is, as always, still more work to be done.

Every week, 20 children in Australia receive a cancer diagnosis.

At week’s end, three more Australian children will have died from cancer.

That is why the work of the Foundation and the Institute is so important.

The Liquid Biopsy program is a key part of solving the problem of childhood cancer and builds upon the progress the Zero Childhood Cancer program is already making for children across Australia.

We’re looking forward to exploring the research, meeting the researchers and hearing about their wonderful work.

My thanks to all at the Children’s Cancer Institute and Australian Cancer Research Foundation, particularly the members of the Medical Research Advisory Committee who advise on the implementation of the grants.

Your work directly leads to breakthroughs and discoveries that help each individual diagnosed with cancer.

To all involved in the ACRF Child Cancer Liquid Biopsy Program – well done, keep up the ground-breaking work and thank you.