Stop playing politics and start helping out regional communities - that is the message from Victoria's parliamentary secretary for medical research Frank McGuire, who toured Ballarat's medical precinct on Thursday.
Mr McGuire was a guest of BIRCH (Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration for Health), joining associate professor Mark Yates and Wendouree MP Juliana Addison in viewing the precinct.
BIRCH is a collaboration between Ballarat's two hospitals and six universities with a goal to develop Ballarat into a renowned and innovative health care research hub.
Mr McGuire called on the federal government to match Victoria's commitment of $116.5 million for medical research.
"The Victorian government, particularly for a long time, has had unity tickets in building out research," he said.
"Apart from sport, medical research is an area where Victoria is a world leader. We are doing world-leading research in this area which we are trying to translate that into different medicines and services that will change and save lives.
"It's the investment in acute care and building the new ideas for the future. It's one thing to understand how the system works, but the classic thing is to get out and meet the people for yourself.
"You just stroll around here and you see just how outstanding an ecosystem this is. It is world-class research that is being done here."
So far, the federal government has not matched the Victorian commitment for BIRCH.
"We really want the Australian government to be a partner, not a bystander," Mr McGuire said.
"Now is the time to invest and stop playing politics."
BIRCH executive director Mark Yates said he was pleased to showcase the work under way.
"Ballarat is geographically compact and our health resources clustered which makes possible this collaborative, broad-based system change typically required to accelerate research that improves patient outcomes," he said.
Ballarat MP Catherine King wrote to federal health minister Greg Hunt in June calling on the government to invest in BIRCH after Labor promised to invest $10 million to the project.
She said she had received a reply from Mr Hunt identifying no funding pathways for BIRCH.
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