Labor welcomes today’s announcement that funding has been secured for expansion of the Australian Synchrotron, one of the nation’s premier research facilities.
The expansion has been funded with the support of universities and research institutions in both Australia and New Zealand.
The Abbott/Turnbull Government have been dragged kicking and screaming to deliver long term funding certainty to the Synchrotron and the scientists who work there.
Great science needs funding certainty, and landmark national facilities deserve long term secure funding, free from the types of threats exhibited in 2014 when funding for national research infrastructure was threatened as a part of the government’s failed negotiation tactics in the Senate.
However the Government is failing to heed this mantra. They are seeking to abolish the Education Investment Fund – which contributed $36.8 million to the Synchrotron – and Education Minister Simon Birmingham has failed to rule out swinging cuts to research funding.
Unlike the Liberals, Labor governments have seen the need to support such a vital piece of research infrastructure like the Australian Synchrotron.
You can count on your fingers the number of countries with the capability to build and operate such a machine.
They do not come cheap. Nor are they a one-off purchase. A world-class synchrotron must be constantly upgraded to perform at the optimum level.
Synchrotrons produced the anti-flu drug Relenza. They create semi-conductor circuits and perform forensic analysis. They develop ceramics, polymers and biomaterials for industry. They save lives, protect the community and generate commercial spin-offs.
This is our nation’s only synchrotron. It is an asset for Australia and a bright star in the science world.
It is one of the most significant pieces of research infrastructure in the Southern Hemisphere.
When it comes to science the Liberals may talk the talk, but they just don’t get it.