Labor welcomes the long-awaited announcement by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane of funding for the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC) and the CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE).
This announcement comes after weeks of Labor calling on the Minister to cease his pointless delay and provide certainty for these CRCs.
Instead of acting like a responsible Minister, however, Ian Macfarlane left the announcements on his desk for eleven and five months respectively, just so he would have some good news to deliver at the annual CRC conference.
The Liberals claim to be the party of business and industry.
If that were true, they would know that companies place a high value on certainty.
But Ian Macfarlane has been treating the industry partners in these CRCs with disdain by leaving them in limbo for so long.
So today’s news will come as a relief to the researchers and industry partners of the IMCRC and CRC ORE, whose funding was otherwise due to expire on 30 June.
But many CRCs will not be feeling as confident, as they contemplate the Minister’s response to the CRC Review.
The announcement that CRCs will be required to more closely align with the narrowly-defined Industry Growth Centres has left many facing an uncertain future.
This move will see public benefit CRCs and their outstanding work put at risk, no matter how effective they have been in meeting their goals.
Labor understands that there needs to be a suite of measures to support an effective national innovation system.
CRCs have been a critical part of this system for 25 years.
Labor congratulates all CRCs on the contribution they have made, and continue to make, to creating and sustaining high wage, high skills jobs in an evolving economy.