Institute a good start, but Australia ultimately needs a national centre for disease control


The Victorian Greens have called the plan to establish an Australian Institute for Infectious Diseases in Melbourne a good step, but say that a national centre for disease control is what is ultimately needed.

The Greens say that a national centre for disease control (CDC) could move critical resources and expertise across state borders and across public and private sectors.

Victorian Greens spokesperson for health, Dr Tim Read, said that while the Premier’s announcement this morning was an excellent start, it should be seen as stage one of a national CDC which we clearly need to manage epidemics like COVID around the country.

Dr Read said a national CDC could advise on how to control the spread of infection across Australia and it would see the suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane as more connected than individual state governments realise.

With the Doherty and Burnet institutes and a strong focus on public health, Melbourne is already well placed to host our CDC headquarters and this institute would make an ideal home for it.

What this needs now is the federal funding to make it a reality. And if the Morrison Government doesn’t come to the table, the Andrews Labor Government should push ahead with it, knowing that in the long term it will attract more NHMRC and other external funding than would otherwise be possible.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for health, Dr Tim Read:

"Many other countries have adopted a national CDC and it’s important that Australia follows suit.

"During this pandemic, divisions of responsibility between state and federal health systems and public and private health services, have created problems. 

"Victoria’s extensive network of GPs was largely ignored during the pandemic, while the state set up a parallel network of testing centres. Some patients in July waited over ten days for test results, because of simple logistical problems resulting from a lack of coordination between private and public laboratories and the new public testing system.

"A national CDC would help to bring together expertise from across the country and help us to deliver a coordinated response to the pandemic."