January 17, 2012: Issue: The Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) is an independent research institute committed to research discoveries in the area of childhood disease. With its Westmead headquarters in Western Sydney, the Institute is operating at close to its capacity, limiting the scope of its research. CMRI has plans to build a larger facility to accommodate more scientists and redevelop its headquarters at a cost of approximately $133 million. In late 2010, with the NSW State election just months away, CMRI engaged P&P to secure a state government funding commitment for the redevelopment.
Challenge: With the opinion polls indicating a landslide victory for the NSW Liberal-National Opposition, many stakeholder groups were seeking to elevate their issues with the Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell, and his shadow ministers and candidates. P&P needed to make CMRI’s case stand out in this contested space.
Insight: Western Sydney is the home of a number of marginal electorates, as well as an expanding region and a target area for economic growth in NSW.
Creative Idea: Given the importance of Western Sydney to all political parties, we created a good opportunity for them to bolster their marginal seat campaign by funding CMRI’s redevelopment, and its economic and social benefits.
Campaign: The campaign involved first building the case for the benefits of the redevelopment, followed by direct engagement with party leaders, ministers and shadow ministers, as well as candidates in the seat of Parramatta, where the CMRI is based. Tours and the facility were held and decision-makers were taken through the redevelopment plans.
On 21 February, just over one month before the election was held, the Liberal-National coalition announced a $20 million funding commitment for CMRI’s redevelopment. The announcement was made by the now Premier Barry O’Farrell and the now Health Minister Jillian Skinner.
“This commitment from the NSW Liberals & Nationals is a huge boost to children’s health and medical research as well as the economic and social infrastructure of Western Sydney.”
Professor Roger Reddel, Lorimer Dods Professor and CMRI Director.