SYDNEY, AAP – A slew of medicines to treat illnesses like cancer and kidney disease will now be manufactured here in Australia in a move the government says will future-proof the country’s access to life-saving treatments.

Currently, Australia imports more than 90 per cent of its medicines, but the recent global pandemic made it evident securing the country’s sovereign capability was key.

“Making medicines like these right here means more security from disruptions, more homegrown skills and more local jobs,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement on Sunday.

“Building up our ability to make products like these is key to our plan for a stronger future.

“The pandemic has shown us more than ever before we need access to what Australians need here at home and this project will help ensure we have critical precision medicines for our patients.”

The government has announced $23 million in funding for the $71.2 million Australian Precision Medicine Enterprise under the Collaboration Stream of the Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

The project will create 42 jobs at a newly-constructed facility in Clayton, Victoria, with a further 105 created along the supply chain. These will include highly-skilled jobs such as radiochemists, radio pharmacists and engineers.

The facility will house a high-energy 30 mega-electron volt (MeV) cyclotron which will be a new domestic source of critical radioisotopes – until now, only imported into Australia – and help onshore technology and expertise we currently don’t have, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said.

“By combining research and development and the manufacture of precision medicines locally we are shoring up our supply chain resilience,” Mr Taylor said in a statement.