We need a national inquiry to streamline/improve research ethics and governance in Australia

Millions of dollars worth of Australian health and medical researchers' time is being wasted on: submitting the same forms to multiple review committees; or submitting forms for negligible risk research that should not need formal oversight. These unnecessary applications waste huge amounts of time and money, and are impeding health and medical research in Australia.

Previous fixes to the system have been inadequate as many site-specific processes remain in place. Excessive paperwork slows collaborative research projects and clinical trials, and in some cases may even prevent research from taking place.

We want a national inquiry to examine the entire system of ethics and governance approvals.

Many other countries have far simpler approval systems. The fragmented Australian system is hampering our ability to conduct research by tying up researchers in wasteful knots of unnecessary paperwork.

We want national systems with standardised forms that are used by every state and territory health department.

Recent studies by Australian researchers on the time wasted by unnecessary approvals are available here, here or here.

Can you help us send a message to federal government by signing and sharing this petition?

Adrian Barnett, Queensland University of Technology
Jennifer Byrne, University of Sydney
Amanda Rush, University of Sydney
Anna Scott, Bond University
Natalie Taylor, University of Sydney

Update #21 months ago
We received a formal reply from minster Greg Hunt today. Sadly they will not be pursuing an inquiry. They believe that ongoing work by the NHMRC and ACSQHC will address the issues we raised. We hoped a petition would make the government realise that this is a widespread and long-standing issue, not just a few unhappy scientists. Thanks for taking the time to add your voice. We now plan to make our combined voice heard in other ways.
Update #18 months ago
Thanks for signing this petition.

Today we met with staff from Karen Andrews' office, and we’ve been asked to submit a brief that will also go to Greg Hunt’s office. We have a great chance to get our voice heard on this vital issue, so please use your networks to distribute the petition so we can get 1000+ signatures.

Please also keep an eye out for a new survey next week, which asks randomly selected Australian researchers about the challenges of getting ethics approval.
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