ANDHealth has welcomed the 2024 Federal Budget’s ongoing commitment to health and medical research and connected health infrastructure.

ANDHealth CEO, Bronwyn Le Grice commented, “The recent announcements of the two new Missions for the MRFF and the commitment to continuing MRFF funding over forward estimates, alongside minor increases to the NHMRC, are critical to allow our internationally competitive health and medical research sector to thrive and generate the health technologies of the future.”

“From a digital health perspective, there is an enormous opportunity for Australia in bringing together our world-leading health and medical researchers with our emerging global capabilities in technologies such as AI, quantum, sensor technologies and high-value software development,” Ms Le Grice said.

While ANDHealth notes there is very little in the way of new health innovation funding or direct measures to support technology-led SMEs following prior years’ Industry Growth Program (IGP) and National Reconstruction Fund announcements, it remains hopeful that the IGP and National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) will direct investment not just directly into SMEs but also into proven organisations which deliver pools of specialised commercialisation capability to key priority areas, to ensure that direct investments are highly informed and capital efficient.

“We are very keen to engage with the Government on the details of the policies announced in this and prior budgets, especially as they relate to supporting the technology-led SME community, who are, in many ways, the commercialisation engine-room of Australia. With over 900 rapidly maturing digital health SMEs in the ANDHealth pipeline, we need to provide an environment in which they can grow locally and not be lost to larger, offshore markets at the early stages of global scale.”

“With the National Reconstruction Fund likely to ramp-up in the next 12 months, and digital health recently identified as a priority within the medical science co-investment plan, we now have a prime opportunity to support proven commercialisation growth and acceleration models that work and create global companies which remain headquartered here in Australia,” Ms Le Grice said.

Future Made in Australia

Headlining this year’s budget is the $22.7 billion ‘Future Made in Australia’ plan.  Whilst much of the Future Made in Australia plan focuses on renewable energy and value adding to the resources and critical minerals sector, the plan also references strengthening Australia’s innovation, digital and science capabilities.

A new ‘National Interest Framework’ will be created to better align economic incentives with Australia’s national interests, which will be established under a Future Made in Australia Act.  The government says it will establish a new ‘front door’ for investors with major, transformational investment proposals to make it simpler to invest in Australia and attract more global and domestic capital.

The front door reportedly aims to provide a single point of contact for investors and companies with major investment proposals, deliver a joined-up approach to investment attraction and facilitation, identify priority projects related to the Government’s Future Made in Australia agenda.  It will also support accelerated and coordinated approvals decisions and connect investors with the Government’s specialist investment vehicles. Whilst Government leadership in these areas is highly valued, and is often a precursor to private investment, ANDHealth looks forward to greater detail as to how the private sector, and specifically our fast-growing digital health sector, will be supported and / or impacted by this.

Responsible AI

$39.9 million has been committed to the safe and responsible use of AI, with $21.6 million over four years going to the National AI Centre (NAIC) and $15.7 million being allocated to develop AI policies and review existing regulations, including those in healthcare.  

Early discussions with stakeholders in the AI space suggest that this funding is low compared to other nations in the OECD. With over 40% of global digital health investment in 2024 being directed to AI-driven companies, ANDHealth will be seeking to understand how increased investment into AI can be generated to ensure that Australia becomes globally competitive in all aspects of AI, but especially in the development of AI technologies which increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our healthcare system.

The budget also indicated that the NAIC and its associated funding will no longer be housed within our national science agency, CSIRO, but will be relocated to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources. We look forward to understanding further how this will impact the critical mass and efficiency of our national AI capabilities and CSIRO’s significant investments in the space, including in Data61.

National Health & Medical Research Council

ANDHealth welcomed the expansion of operational funding to the NHMRC of $9 million, including implementation of the Sapphire Grants Management system and the small increase of $18 million to the Medical Research Endowment Account for the coming year. Future work to further align of the MREA to the increasing costs of research, by indexation or other means, would also significantly ‘move the needle’ for our researchers, who struggle to secure long-term sustainable funding on which to base their research.

R&D Funding Review

Also announced in the budget was a commitment to undertake a strategic examination of Australia’s research and development system overall, which the budget papers say will grow R&D and build a more resilient and dynamic economy, though full details are yet to be announced.  This follows close on the announcement of the outcomes of consultation on improving alignment between the Medical Research Future Fund and the Medical Research Endowment Account Managed by the National Health & Medical Research Council and the announcement regarding the establishment of a unified national strategy for health and medical research.

Investment into the Australian Digital Health Agency

ANDHealth also welcomed the $331 million in funding for the Australian Digital Health Agency in 2024/25 to pursue critical connected health infrastructure programs including providing support to patients and health care providers and improving secure access to the clinical information they need in a broader range of settings. However, a sharp drop off in ADHA funding in forward estimates suggests that critical modernisation of our health system connectivity, interoperability and patient-centric functionality may be put at risk in future years. While funding in the 2024-25 budget has increased compared to 2023-24, it is unclear why there is such a substantial drop off in funding over the next four years.  

National One Stop Shop for Clinical Trials

ANDHealth welcomes the creation of an $18.8 million ‘National One Stop Shop’, which the budget says will help harmonise and streamline the administration and regulation of health and medical research.  As part of a suite of recently announced health measures, an easy-to-use website will be created to help people, researchers and industry find, conduct and participate in clinical trials and research.  ANDHealth’s FY23 Sentiment Survey found that clinical trial activity in the digital health sector should remain strong in coming years, with fewer companies (6% compared to 15% in FY2022) putting clinical trials on hold.


ANDHealth looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Federal Government to ensure implementation of these measures supports a thriving evidence-based digital health sector and to make sure that commercialisation remains front-of-mind as these new policies are further considered and implemented.

We remain committed to the inclusion of digital health technologies, products and services into Australia’s healthcare reimbursement and procurement landscape as drivers of Australian health innovation being developed and deployed locally for the benefit of Australian patients. We also support innovative Australian SMEs to “grow locally, and scale globally”, benefiting Australia’s knowledge economy and bringing Australian technologies to international patient populations for global impact.

2023-24 Federal Budget Summary