The arrival of the new financial year today heralds yet another cut to science and research under the Abbott Government.
The Government’s efficiency dividend of 3.25 per cent for the Australian Research Council (ARC) takes effect from today, cutting $75 million in research funding over three years.
Universities and researchers are now facing the possibility of around 200 fewer Discovery Projects being funded over the next three years – exacerbating falling success rates in this vital research program on the Abbott Government’s watch.
This is just another short-sighted cut from a Government that has undermined Australian researchers and their work at every turn.
This is the same Government that held the jobs of 1700 researchers and 35,000 projects hostage in a desperate attempt to deliver its agenda for $100,000 degrees.
It’s the same Government that has sought to cut $3 billion overall from science, research and innovation, and has seen Commonwealth investment in science as a proportion of the budget fall to a 30-year low.
It’s the same Government that:
Slashed $115 million from CSIRO, leading to the loss of one in five jobs;
Cut $107 million from the Cooperative Research Centres program;
Will cease funding for Australia’s largest ICT research organisation (NICTA) next year, abandoning 300 PhD students who work directly with industry; and
- Abolished the Researchers in Business program and systematically undermined Labor’s suite of measures for strengthening engagement between researchers and industry to create the jobs of the future.
By contrast, in his Budget Reply Bill Shorten announced an aspiration to see Australia devote 3 per cent of its GDP to research and development by the end of the next decade.
This goal can only be achieved if the Commonwealth pulls its weight. That’s why Labor has already announcing the first elements of a comprehensive science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) strategy, including:
Coding in Schools – ensuring our kids have the opportunity to learn the language of computers from an early age;
Teaching STEM – training and upskilling our teachers to be capable and confident teaching STEM subjects;
STEM Future Workforce – giving 100,000 young Australians the opportunity to graduate from STEM degrees without a HECS debt, with a focus on incentivising students from under-represented groups to get STEM qualifications; and
- Smart Investment Fund – supporting great Australian ideas to become new businesses with access to early stage venture capital funding.
Labor is the only party that is proudly committed to investing in science, research and innovation to build and sustain the jobs of the future.