Medical device sector welcomes Labor commitment to manufacturing

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The Medical Technology Association of Australia has welcomed Labor's commitment to establishing a $1.5 billion medical manufacturing fund.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said a board would be established as part of a National Reconstruction Fund to oversee decisions on investments that would be made with private sector support.

Shadow industry minister Ed Husic said, “We once had a proud heritage of medical manufacture in this country that has been undermined by a Coalition government that often refuses to work with or back local firms.

“There was no stronger proof of this when it became easier to buy an Australian-made rapid test in the US and parts of Europe than it was in the very country they’re made.”

The Coalition announced a $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative in the 2020-21 Budget. Unlike Labor's commitment, which is focused on the medical sector, the Coalition's initiative targets six sectors, including medical.

The Coalition has already committed funds under the program to projects that will expand existing and established new medicine manufacturing facilities.

MTAA CEO Ian Burgess said the sector was encouraged by Labor's initiative.

“The MedTech industry knows just how important it is to ensure Australia has the advanced manufacturing jobs of the future to support Australians both economically and during times of uncertainty and need – as we saw during the global pandemic,” he said.

“We support any efforts by a future government, regardless of its political persuasion, that makes Australia an attractive place to invest in innovative and life-saving technologies.

“MTAA looks forward to continuing to be an active partner with government to formulate a positive policy framework that benefits both industry and, importantly, Australian patients who will be the end receivers of cutting-edge medical technologies.”

Mr Burgess said a recent industry report found the MedTech industry could add $18 billion to the Australian economy and around 28,000 new jobs within the next eight years.