Date published: 
17 May 2018
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Turnbull Government is taking further action to protect older Australians, with an investment of nearly $2 million going into research to tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance in aged care facilities.

Antibiotic resistance in Australia has meant some infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, leaving healthcare professionals with limited, or in some rare instances, no treatment options.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms that cause infections resist the effects of the medicines used to treat them, such as antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals.

The main cause of antibiotic resistance is antibiotic overuse. The more we use antibiotics, the more chance bacteria have to develop resistance to them.

And Australia is one of the biggest users of antibiotics in the developed world.

The Turnbull Government will provide $1.2 million, with a co-contribution of $700,000 by the University of Queensland, for a total of $1.9 million.

In recent years, high levels of antibiotics use have been recorded in Australian aged care facilities, contributing to a heightened risk of residents acquiring antimicrobial-resistant infections.

This is the latest investment from the Government’s Medical Research Future Fund aimed at increasing the surveillance of antibiotic-resistant organisms in residential aged care facilities and better understanding the spread of infections within and between healthcare facilities.

This funding is for research focusing on a nurse-led antimicrobial intervention in residential aged care facilities across multiple states in Australia.

Earlier this year we announced that the Turnbull Government would provide two new ground-breaking flu vaccines to over three million Australians aged 65 years and over - free of charge. The vaccines were fast-tracked to ensure lives are saved and that older Australians receive greater protection.

In last week’s Federal Budget, we allocated a record $6 billion for health and medical research — continued funding for the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Biomedical Translation Funds and $2 billion in disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund.

This investment includes $1.3 billion for a new National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan to improve health outcomes for hundreds of thousands of Australians, create tens of thousands of jobs, and develop Australia’s next generation of global-leading industries.