LIBS CANNOT HIDE THEIR TRACK RECORD ON SCIENCE

Labor welcomes today’s science statement by the Turnbull Government – but this is not difficult given that it has no plan to do anything.

But the Australian science and research community will not be fooled by the Minister’s empty words and platitudes.

This is a statement without any plan for action, nor the resourcing required to meet its limited ambitions.  

Words are cheap but it is deeds that matter.

Labor is proud of its innovation legacy in government. In that time we:

  • Identified three focus areas for the Super Science initiative, which funded major infrastructure and strategic engagement with space research and industry.

    • This program included $120 million to build the Marine National Facility, RV Investigator, which is managed by CSIRO and is Australia’s only blue water research vessel.

    • Under the Abbott-Turnbull Government, the research vessel is funded to operate at sea for only 180 days a year, rather than its operational capability of 300 days.

  • Opened up the CRC program to embrace “public benefit” end-users such as health systems and committed almost $900 million to CRC projects.

  • Secured Australia’s leading role in the development and management of the Square Kilometre Array, an international collaborative deep space research partnership that will benefit Australian research and economic investment for decades to come.

  • In recognition of the fundamental role of space science and spatial technology to the nation’s wellbeing, established a Space Policy Unit, Australian Space Science Program and Space Industry Innovation Council. This builds on Australia’s historic role as a key partner in global space and astronomy endeavours.

  • Created the Future Fellowships scheme for mid-career researchers and committed almost $1 billion to support the careers of 950 outstanding researchers at Australian universities.

  • Introduced the Sustainable Research Excellence program to help move towards funding the full cost of research at Australian universities. In total, more than $8.7 billion was invested for University Research Block Grants under Labor.

  • Provided $560 million to extend the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) scheme to the end of 2014‑15. By contrast, back in March 2015 Christopher Pyne tried to hold the 1700 jobs and 35,000 research projects supported by NCRIS facilities hostage to his plan for $100,000 degrees.

 Australian scientists and researchers know directly of the war on science that has been waged under the Liberals:

  • Science, research and innovation programs have suffered a $3 billion cut in the 2014 budget, of which the Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) has only returned $1 billion.

  • 1,680 jobs have been cut in science agencies since 2013 – almost 15 percent of the workforce.

  • CSIRO has been plunged into crisis, with plummeting staff morale and continuing staff cuts.

  • There is no plan to fund research infrastructure, merely a plan to abolish the $3.7 billion Education Investment Fund.

  • Despite a $26 million advertising campaign, public support for innovation remains in the doldrums.

Under Labor funding for science and research increased by $3.3 billion or 49.2 percent.

Under the Liberals funding in real terms has decreased by $295 million since 2013-14.


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