spinifex network

Our Spinifex Statement

People living in rural, regional and remote locations deserve better health.

We will be rigorous and use creative and non-traditional research approaches to improve health outcomes for these Australians.

Our strength is in our rural roots, our will to collaborate and make change happen.

Spinifex, where it grows in the desert and near the coast, is a symbol of resilience.

It can withstand storms, winds and king tides. It has deep roots, it resists drought and stabilises the earth.

– a collective statement of purpose and intent for the Spinifex Network, endorsed by participants at the Spinifex Symposium, Alice Springs, November 13, 2019.

What is the Network About?

Australia is a huge country. While 70 per cent of the population lives in cities, the other 30 per cent lives in rural and regional areas.

That 30 has markedly poorer health outcomes and there has been insufficient investment in research to improve the health of this 30 per cent of our population​. Currently the National Health and Medical Research Council only allocates 2.4 per cent towards research that specifically aims to deliver health benefits to people who live in rural or remote Australia.​

Translational research centres in Australia have brought a new opportunity to closely partner medical researchers with health services including hospitals, community and primary care​. Australia’s two NHMRC accredited Centres for Innovation in Regional Health: the Central Australia Academic Health Science Network and NSW Regional Health Partners took the initiative to organise a meeting of those working in rural research and those passionate about its importance.

The Spinifex Symposium held in Alice Springs on 12-13 November 2019 was effective in reaching consensus on the important issues and of the value of a national alliance for Rural Health and Medical Research to improve medical research outcomes and impact for rural Australia. The subsequent Spinifex Network embodies that alliance.