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Abbott pledges $200 million to fight dementia

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The Coalition pledges to help make Australia a world leader in Alzheimer’s fight.

The Coalition will provide $200 million over five years for dementia research if elected, Opposition leader Tony Abbott announced in late August.

About 1700 new cases of dementia are diagnosed in Australia each week and without a medical breakthrough this will amount to nearly 1 million Australians by 2050.

In its report, The Coalition’s Policy to Boost Dementia Research, the opposition recognised that “dementia is now one of our greatest disease burdens”, behind heart disease, cancer and mental health.

The Coalition confirmed that its commitment to research is aimed at:

  • Expanding capacity in dementia research by supporting new participants to commence work in this field
  • Allocating priority funding for dementia research projects in the health and aged-care sector
  • Ensuring Australia better translates existing research into care for dementia patients
  • Investing in vital dementia research infrastructure and helping to accelerate progress in finding a cure.

“Our policy to accelerate funding for dementia is part of our Real Solutions plan to build a stronger Australia and a better future for all Australians,” Abbott said.

“The Coalition’s $200 million commitment will put Australia on the front foot as a world leader in the battle against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

The announcement was welcomed by Alzheimer’s Australia, which has been calling on major parties to give priority to aged care and dementia.

“There are promising strategies in dementia research to identify those at risk of dementia and the priority now is to intervene as early as possible to reduce risk,” said Ita Buttrose, national president of Alzheimer’s Australia.

“This funding commitment will give Australians hope that future generations might escape this terrible chronic disease.”

Buttrose said the $40 million a year would be important for building dementia research capacity and helping Australians better understand the causes of dementia and how to modify its progression.

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