National Action Plan Released to Build Australia’s Diagnostic Technology Sector and Improve Health Security

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28 August 2023

MTPConnect and Pathology Technology Australia (PTA) have today released an Action Plan for establishing an end-to-end sovereign manufacturing capability for diagnostic products in Australia and strengthening supply chain resilience.

The Action Plan makes a range of practical recommendations to achieve the goal of a flourishing sovereign diagnostics manufacturing ecosystem and is the culmination of extensive consultation with more than 140 stakeholders across the country and direct contributions from those at the frontline.

MTPConnect CEO Stuart Dignam says the plan’s findings, data-driven assessments and innovative recommendations will have a profound impact on the future success of the sector.

“Australia is also home to some of the world’s leading diagnostics research and development, yet our healthcare system remains vulnerable to a chronic reliance on overseas manufacturers and suppliers to deliver the diagnostics products on which the health of our population and protection of our biosecurity depends,” Mr Dignam said.

“The plan we have prepared with PTA capitalises on the local industry’s existing strengths, while prioritising innovation, boosting expertise and reducing investment risk.

“It outlines a framework for enhancing the diagnostic infrastructure, supporting commercialisation of new innovations, improving access to testing, and strengthening the regulatory framework for diagnostic products and services.

“With the implementation of these practical initiatives to build a resilient domestic diagnostics sector, we can not only help to protect the health of Australians but also foster the growth of dynamic, globally significant companies, create new high-paying jobs and spur economic growth in a field where Australia has already shown its competitiveness,” he said.

Key recommendations from the report, Diagnostic Technology Sovereign Capability & Resilience: A National Action Plan, include:

  • establish a National Diagnostics Development Centre and Diagnostics Manufacturing Fund to support the commercialisation and in-country manufacture of diagnostic products
  • establish a Diagnostics Advisory Council that informs government and supports industry
  • build a coordinated Nationwide Diagnostics Policy across states and territories
  • implement sustainable Procurement Practices to harness federal, state and territory government purchasing power and prioritise local diagnostic products and stimulate domestic manufacturing.

PTA CEO Dean Whiting explained that the Action plan addresses key supply chain resilience issues facing the health security of Australia and its ability to produce critical diagnostic tests onshore.

“In Australia, accessible and effective diagnostic technologies – from pregnancy tests and blood glucose monitors to rapid antigen and PCR tests – play a critical role in detecting, diagnosing and monitoring diseases,” Mr Whiting said.

“The report found that we import more than 95 per cent of diagnostic tests and technologies. The pandemic brought into focus Australia’s parlous state with respect to our sovereign high-tech manufacturing capability and supply chain security to ensure availability of these technologies.

“And while the pandemic has subsided, the supply chain vulnerabilities remain, so this Action Plan thoroughly investigates the barriers to commercialising diagnostic devices in Australia and makes a range of recommendations for remediating them.

“Rapid action on this plan will see Australia better placed to manage future health emergencies and critical supply disruptions and by strengthening our diagnostic capability, we also increase our ability to compete in global markets and boost our national prosperity.”

The National Action Plan is delivered by MTPConnect in partnership with PTA and supported by HTANALYSTS. 

Download the plan.