ns could be the healthiest nation on earth, with the longest life expectancy, if the government pursues a “national mission” that harnesses genetic and precision medicine innovations, according to a new 2030 innovation blueprint.
Innovation and Science chair Bill Ferris, who will release the blueprint alongside Innovation Minister Michaelia Cash on Tuesday, has also backed the Turnbull government’s ambitious new Defence Exports Strategy, which aims to catapult into the top 10 of global arms exporting nations.
That plan drew a furious response from charities and NGOs on Monday, including World Vision, Save the Children and Gun Control .
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne on Monday. Photo: AAP
However, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne insisted the government would not breach its international obligations around arms dealing, emphasising that has the most rigorous export permits regime in the world and would not, for example, export to China.
The n Industry Group’s Innes Willox called the strategy a “significant step” in helping to support the n Defence Force and grow local industry.
The call to arms for greater investment in medical and scientific research – and the ambitious goal to live longer and healthier – is one of 30 recommendations in the 2030 innovation blueprint.
Other suggestions include a sweeping review of the public service’s ability to innovate – a measure likely to be adopted by government, a shake up of vocational education, improved teaching of science and maths, reversing the decline in business investment in research and development and using the immigration system to attract skills.
Two other ambitious “national missions” – large-scale undertakings that would drive investment and bring together the public and private sector – that are proposed are preserving the Great Barrier Reef beyond 2030 and converting the gas supply of an entire n city from natural gas to clean hydrogen to create a “hydrogen city” .
The new report builds on the Turnbull government’s December 2015 national innovation and science agenda and notes that ‘s average life expectancy of 82.5 years is the 6th highest in the world, with per person health expenditure of only US$4493, the 14th-highest.
The plan to use genomics and precision medicine would aim to provide earlier diagnosis of illness among ns, improve prevention and deliver better and safer medical treatments.
Mr Ferris said already had genome sequencing skills and that “has to expand it dramatically and take on the task of [adding] genomics and precision medicine into the system we have”.
Pursuing such an ambitious medical research and innovation agenda would ensure, Mr Ferris said, that did not fall behind in the race for a greater share of $1.6 trillion in global capital spent on innovation.
On the Defence Exports Strategy, Mr Ferris said the Defence Science and Technology group was “very alive to the importance of innovation and is seriously trying to embrace better engagement”.
“We are aligned with this, we think it is a sensible focus.”
Mr Pyne said the “five eyes” countries – the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand – would be ‘s top export priority, followed by Europe.
“We have military-to-military arrangements with China but we wouldn’t normally see China as an export market, no. China is not an n ally in the way the United States is,” he said.
World Vision’s Tim Costello said the decision sent a shocking message about n values.
“Of all the products could export to the world, I can’t think of anything worse than a weapon,” Mr Costello said. “If we were exporting renewable energy, or breaking new ground in biotechnology, that would be something we could take pride in. How can we take pride in a weapon?”
Save the Children chief executive Paul Ronalds said the exports would potentially fuel global insecurity and instability, as Oxfam expressed specific concerns that the nation could export weapons to Saudi Arabia, which is heavily involved in the war in Yemen.