New national agency to advance genomic medicine

Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) director Professor Kathryn North says a new national agency to support genomic medicine will help propel the integration of genomics into mainstream healthcare, a transformative approach to patient diagnosis and treatment.

Professor North will be the inaugural chair of Genomics Australia, welcomed the announcement by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to invest $28.1 million to establish the agency from 1 January 2024. The agency will build on six years of work by Australian Genomics.

She said Genomics Australia was another step towards having genomic medicine as standard of care in Australia, a move that had huge implications for patient welfare.

"Genomic medicine will transform the way we deliver healthcare throughout the life course, enabling rapid diagnosis, prediction, prevention, and personalised therapies," she said.

"We have worked together across Australia to build a cohesive national approach to translate evidence-based policy in genomics into standard of care within our health system. This is a logical and welcome progression of that work."

Genomics Australia is expected to become a legislated corporate Commonwealth entity under the Health portfolio. The Commonwealth Department of Health will lead its establishment in consultation with consumers, health professionals, researchers and industry.

Mr Hunt said the consultation would ensure strong engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts, disability and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse groups to ensure their needs were actively included.

State and territory governments will be invited to partner with the Federal Government on the initiative to promote a nationally cohesive approach.