Funding for BIRCH

The Ballarat community has received $150,000 for BIRCH, the Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration for Health as part of the Victorian Government’s ongoing commitment to support regional communities through the impacts of coronavirus.

Member for Wendouree, Ms Juliana Addison, today announced the additional funding for the project, which is among a suite of shovel-ready initiatives expedited to support economic and social renewal across rural and regional Victoria.

BIRCH is ideally placed to assist their Ballarat health service, university and industry partners pivot to work that is coronavirus relevant. BIRCH has a compelling collection of innovative medical research projects underway, many of which will help the region to use their hospital beds and resources more effectively. This funding ensures this work can continue apace.

There are also increased opportunities for swift development and commercialisation of health innovations. One such innovation already underway, with BIRCH support, is the low cost ventilator invented by local mining entrepreneur Sandy Gray of Gekko Industries.

This investment will support local communities, including many that were already doing it tough as a result of drought and this summer’s bushfires, as they begin the road towards recovery.

New projects across the state include investment in mental health resources, from supporting young people adversely affected by coronavirus to providing new opportunities for industry innovation. All projects focus on getting shovels in the ground and creating opportunities that drive investment back into local communities.

Funded as part of the Government’s record $2.6 billion Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria Program, the newly announced projects are in addition to the Victorian Government’s recently announced $2.7 billion Building Works package, of which more than half are focused on supporting rural and regional infrastructure projects.

The multi-billion-dollar investment will support the creation of thousands of new jobs and, by investing in local projects and priorities, will help to ensure that regional Victorians are on a level playing field as they navigate the consequences of coronavirus.

Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison

“Considering that 30% of the Australian population is regional and rural based, BIRCH is well placed to research the unique health problems faced by our community.”

“BIRCH’s leadership is vital in the ongoing pursuit of better health outcomes for regional Victorians. This funding will allow their innovative and important work to continue.”


Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle

 “The Victorian Government is committed to accelerating progress on projects that have the potential to generate immediate economic benefit for our regions and help them recover from the impacts of coronavirus.”

“The key requirement for these projects is that they can get underway as soon as possible, meaning shovels in the ground – and boots in the mud – within a matter of weeks and months.”


Quotes attributable to BIRCH Executive Director, Associate Professor Mark Yates

“BIRCH is thrilled to receive this grant from the Victorian Government. This funding helps us continue to support local clinicians in their research, especially those working on projects that shorten time in hospital or keep community members healthy at home.
It’s also a vote of confidence in BIRCH, which is important for additional philanthropic and industry investment.”


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