Lowy donates $10 million to cancer research.

May 31, 2010 by J-Wire Staff
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Frank Lowy has donated $10 million towards a new cancer research facility in Sydney.

The Lowy Cancer Research Centre, which is housed on the University of New South Wales campus,  was officially opened by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

J-Wire published the Prime Minister’s speech:

Kevin Rudd

Today we gather to make a down payment on one of the nation’s most fundamental obligations – to protect the health of its citizens.

And in the field of medicine, no killer is more challenging or more destructive than cancer.

Cancer will touch one in three of us. I’ve been touched by cancer.

My mum died of lung cancer.

And brain cancer killed my good friend, the late Professor Chris O’Brien – one of the most gifted Australians of our time.

Each year, more than 100,000 Australians sit down with their doctor and hear the devastating verdict that they have cancer.

And 600 of those are children.

Each year, 40,000 Australians lose their fight against cancer.

That’s 26 times the number who die on our roads every year.

To transform cancer care, we need better coordination and more investment.

We have to break down silos and translate research into practice.

We have to mobilise the resources and commitment of governments.

Our National Plan for Better Cancer Care is about better services today, and developing the research base for the future – backed with over $2.3 billion in funding since the Government took office.

One of the things that most struck me is that Australians living in our rural and regional areas are three times more likely to die from some cancers than their counterparts in major cities.

That’s why we’re investing in 20 regional cancer care projects around the country – including eight new regional cancer care centres, upgrades to seven existing facilities, and four patient accommodation projects.

It’s why we will ensure that these regional cancer centres will have links and referral pathways to the two integrated cancer centres – Lifehouse at RPA and the Parkville Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Melbourne – to set the gold standard for our nation.

This is a core part of the biggest reforms to our health and hospitals since the introduction of Medicare.

Reforms to deliver a health and hospitals system that is nationally funded and locally run.

But no matter how much we improve services, our current treatments – surgery, chemo and radiotherapy – have their limitations.

To take us further we need research.

And that is where the Lowy Centre will come into its own.

This Centre rests on two foundations.

The first is the generosity of a great Australian, Frank Lowy and his family.

And the second is a dedicated partnership between:

– the University of New South Wales;

– the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia;

– the Australian Cancer Research Foundation;

– the NSW and Australian Governments; and

– a group of selfless Capital Appeal Donors.

The Australian Government made a significant contribution to this Centre – $13.3 million.

And the Commonwealth, through the National Health and Medical Research Council, has provided the University of NSW with $45 million in cancer research funding over the past five years – $11.9 million in 2010 alone.

This will support our cancer researchers – who are opening new frontiers every day.

Look at the work of Ian Frazer and his colleagues in developing Gardasil.

Not only have they have they saved generations of women from the misery of cervical cancer.

They have given renewed hope to the research community that one day we can master cancer – just like our forebears defeated TB, polio and smallpox.

The very same hope inspires and animates this centre.

Like the work of Dr Kerrie McDonald and her team tackling the growing incidence of brain tumours.

Or Professor Philip Hogg’s work on proteins that has led to two new anti-cancer drugs which are currently being trialled.

That is the quality we have here at the Lowy Centre – 400 of the nation’s brightest.

It is especially fitting that we honour the Lowy family’s generosity the week, marking – as it does – the 50th anniversary of Westfield.

History will not only record Frank Lowy as an astute businessman but also a generous one.

Think of his contribution to international affairs through the Lowy Institute.

His support for the ‘beautiful game’ and our FIFA World Cup bid.

His dedication to the Jewish community and to Israel.

And his backing for innovation and education:

– the Lowy Packer building at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute,

– and the new Lowy Library at the Australian Graduate School of Management, to name but two of Frank’s recent contributions.

Today we add another project to that proud list.

A place that is one of the largest dedicated cancer research centres in the Southern Hemisphere – and also one of the best.

A place that will be at forefront of our fight to unravel – and in time defeat – this cruel and savage disease.

With those thoughts in mind, I honour the Lowy family and our other partners for their vision and generosity.

I thank the Centre’s staff for their dedication and care.

I thank the architects, contractors and workers who brought this building to fruition during tough economic times.

And with pride and confidence, I declare the Lowy Cancer Research Centre officially open.

____________

The State and Federal Governments donated $31 million  to the centre which cost $127 million and employs  400 scientists.

Frank Lowy said on behalf of the family: “All we did was sign a cheque”. He praised the staff and researchers who man the Centre.

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