TONY ABBOTT’S WAR ON SCIENCE IS PUTTING OUR FUTURE AT RISK

For two years Tony Abbott has waged a war on Australian Science, cutting more than $1.2 billion from science and research over two Budgets.

After being elected Tony Abbott promised to support science and asked Australia’s scientists to judge his government by its performance:

“I’m pleased to pledge the incoming Government to continue to support science to the fullest extent possible. …

“I’d say to all of you, please, judge us by our performance ...”

Tony Abbott- Speech, Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science - 31 October 2013

But Tony Abbott and Ian Macfarlane have sold out Australian science and research, gutting it with short-sighted and crippling cuts.

Tony Abbott’s war on science has seen cuts to almost all of Australia’s science agencies and many major research programs, including:

  • $300 million cut to Sustainable Research Excellence at universities

  • $115 million cut to CSIRO

  • $75 million cut to Australian Research Council

  • $107 million cut to Cooperative Research Centres

  • $8 million cut to Australian Institute of Marine Science

  • $28 million cut to Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

  • $16 million cut to Geoscience Australia

  • $120 million cut to Defence Science and Technology

The Abbott Government simply has no credibility when it comes to science and research.

Almost 1400 jobs have been lost at the CSIRO since Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, and up to 200 more are expected to go as National ICT Australia is forced to merge with CSIRO with no Commonwealth funding.

This is the same Government that took the extraordinary step of holding 1700 jobs, 35,000 research projects and 100 mid-career research fellowships hostage to try and pass their unfair and unnecessary plan for $100,000 degrees.

By contrast, Labor has announced a goal of seeing Australia devote 3 per cent of our 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 announced 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.

After two years of Tony, Australia’s science and research future is paying the price for this government’s cuts and blatant lies.


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