A FEDERAL Labor government would fund a new health technology accelerator plus a medical simulation facility at Frankston, opening the door for private medical technology companies to invest in our city.
The $15.3 million funding was announced on Monday 13 May by Labor’s health spokeswoman Catherine King, digital economy spokesman Ed Husic, and Dunkley ALP candidate Peta Murphy. The funding will come from Labor’s Health Solutions Fund. “Accelerators” are programs that help fast-track start-ups already past the incubation stage. Known as PenStart, the Frankston accelerator will focus on developing technology solutions to tackle the real-world health challenges of caring for an elderly population. The models will be tested at a medical simulation facility to be set up at Monash University’s Peninsula campus. Peta Murphy said Labor would back “a bold new partnership” that would be “great for Frankston and the nation”.
Committee for Greater Frankston chief executive Ginevra Hosking said it was a further win for the region as both major parties, in the run-up to the federal election, had pledged financial support for the Frankston Health Futures Hub, a research program and academic centre. In January, Labor promised $21 million. In March the Coalition pledged $32 million.
Ms Hosking said PenStart and the simulation facility was another step towards realising the vision of a world-leading health research precinct in Frankston. “The committee has strongly advocated for government support for expanding medical research at Frankston’s health and education precinct so this is a very gratifying result.” She said health and education precincts generated job growth 2.5 times the national average, and support for and growth of Frankston’s precinct would create high-paying local jobs and have a profoundly positive effect on the region’s prosperity.
The funding will help commercialise new technologies and care models developed through the hub, focusing on aged care but also chronic illness, addiction and mental health. Ed Husic said the investment would “also have a wider impact, providing a boost to the local start-up community wanting to expand in Frankston” as well as “providing possible growth opportunities by partnering … with Monash University”.
James Bertschik, co-founder and chief operating officer of tech incubator Frankston Foundry, said the “health tech plan would help cement the Frankston–Peninsula region as a leader in generating new health solutions and commercialisation opportunities for Australia”. “We have been working incredibly hard over the past year, bringing together superstar talent and capability from Monash University, Peninsula Health and beyond for PenStart.” He said the region was primed for health tech innovation and “now is the time to make it a reality”.