Thank you very much for that welcome and for the opportunity to be with you all once again for this important parliamentary breakfast this year. I’d like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples of the Canberra area and all of Australia’s traditional custodians. To Pat Conroy, Minister for International Development, thank you very much for your opening remarks and continued commitment and the spirit of bipartisanship that you bring. To Kate and Entschy, to Jed, to my various parliamentary colleagues. I saw a particular disproportionate number of Queenslanders here. Unsurprisingly recognising, of course, their acute awareness and understanding of the fact that whilst we tackle TB as a regional threat, as of course a challenge in which we seek to overcome it to improve the lives, outcomes and economies of countries across our region, we do also recognise that there are domestic threats inherent there and that that is, of course, a part of the drive in parts of Australia for the focus there.

It is critical to recognise the huge gains that have been made, but, as we heard at the outset, also disrupted. In technology we talk about disruptors coming along and most times we try to hope those disruptors, though they will have negative side effects on the whole, are for good. But of course, the last few years we have seen disruption and the Covid disruption caused immense impact in areas of public health, much of it not considered at the forefront of the minds of people going about their day to day lives. But for health practitioners and experts such as yourselves, recognising the disruption to vaccination rates, schedules, confidence to health resourcing and prioritisation across different nations, and that from that we have tragically seen significant progress in areas such as TB. It has been challenged and requires us to look at how we go back to redouble our efforts in the areas that we’re working pre-COVID, that we’re seeing us to make gains on ground and to ensure that in doing so, we are securing a turnaround there and new waves of disruption from the new types of R&D technology that equally, we just heard at the outset, are available as new drugs, new testing, new regimes, showing progress that if we can get on the ground action to back up those advances in science, then that is, of course, how we’re actually going to yield proper, reasonable improvements in outcomes and cross testing across prevention, across treatment, the different domains that are so important.

I’m here today to really reinforce the bipartisan support that exists for your work and for recognising right around this room the researchers, the scientists, the volunteers, the health practitioners and advocates, and all of those who you work with and perhaps far more importantly than those in this room or those you work with in Australia, but those you partner with and work with on the countries throughout our region. The people on the front line of testing, people on the front line of educating, the people on the front line of providing treatment and resourcing. They are the real heroes of the work that is undertaken who put themselves out there in terms of their efforts, put themselves in harm’s way at times in terms of how they undertake the type of initiatives that save lives and with that, improve outcomes in communities not just at a health level, but ultimately improve the outcomes for productivity and economic growth and gains across communities when they have the chance to be healthier communities less riven by disease.

The bipartisan support that exists is one that has spanned through many, many governments. It’s seen something like more than $1.3 billion committed by Australia and to the Global Fund already. And I welcome the announcement this morning in relation to the support for the TB Alliance. It’s important that we have continued investment, transparency in investment, accountability in investment because we want to ensure that we get ultimately the benefits of outcomes from that investment that Australia makes. So, you can be confident and that across this Parliament, we will all continue to work together and to underscore the importance of this work that as Pat and the government reach out into the region, as I work with my colleagues and working across the region as well, we do see health outcomes is at the forefront of how we have the stable, peaceful region we seek, but also a healthy and developing region that is able to underpin all of those outcomes. Thank you again very much for your work, the inspirational efforts of your organisations from the lab right through to the treatment centres across the region, and we pay tribute to those efforts, and we remain committed to working alongside you.

Thanks very much.