If there was a prize for missing the big picture, first place would go to Joe Hockey.
Joe Hockey’s second Budget shows that this government has learnt nothing.
The first Abbott Government Budget cut $3 billion from science, research and innovation. This year’s Budget does nothing to reverse those savage cuts.
Joe Hockey said in his Budget speech that people often ask him where the future jobs are going to come from.
Then he delivered a Budget that completely fails to answer that question.
This short-sighted Budget once again shows that the Abbott Government has no interest in building the jobs and industries of the future.
This Budget is all about saving Tony Abbott’s job – not about doing what’s right for Australian jobs.
The $27 million cut to the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program is particularly concerning.
This sounds the death knell for new funding rounds and pulls the rug out from under the Innovative Manufacturing CRC and the CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction, whose current funding expires at the end of June.
These two CRCs were recommended for funding by the independent CRC committee 11 and five months ago respectively, and have been left in limbo ever since.
Ian Macfarlane must immediately clarify the implications of this petty and short-sighted cut to a program that is recognised around the world for successfully bringing researchers and industry together. Real jobs, research projects and industry partnerships are on the line.
Further demonstrating the Budget’s short-sightedness, Ian Macfarlane’s media release makes a massive deal of his one-year funding commitment to the Australian Synchrotron.
In reality, this is a pathetic stop-gap measure that leaves one of Australia’s premier research facilities with a funding cliff at the end on 2016‑17.
The Abbott Government has even cut over $27 million from its own Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme, the pale substitute for Labor’s innovation programs, such as Commercialisation Australia and Enterprise Connect.
This Budget is long on frill and short on substance.
If Australia is to remain competitive as the mining investment boom subsides we need a government that invests in the skills for high-tech, high-wage jobs – not the brain drain inflicted by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey in their short-sighted budget.
This Budget is about the Abbott Government desperately trying to remove the stain on their reputation in the lead up to the election, but no amount of bleach will do the job.
This is not a Budget for Australia’s future.