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Thursday, 4 September 2008
Page: 7147

Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) (9:12 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Australian Research Council Amendment Bill amends the Australian Research Council Act to increase the funding limits in the special appropriation and insert a new funding cap for the last year of the forward budget estimates.

This bill provides approximately an extra $950 million over the forward estimates for the Australian Research Council to implement the Future Fellowships funding scheme and for indexation and continued funding of the Australian Research Council’s existing research funding schemes.

The government values the important contribution made by our researchers to Australia’s short- and long-term prosperity and is committed to fostering our research talent at all levels.

The new Future Fellowships will encourage, support and nurture future generations of potentially exceptional Australian and international researchers and make available to them real opportunities to build a career here.

At present, the career path for researchers can be uncertain with many highly qualified mid-career researchers required to work overseas to further their careers due to lack of opportunities in Australia.

This new scheme addresses the problem by making funding available for 1,000 four-year fellowships over the next five years.

This new funding scheme for the Australian Research Council will act as an additional incentive to attract high-calibre, early-career researchers in all disciplines across the spectrum of pure basic, strategic basic and applied research to undertake their work in Australia. This initiative is an important investment in our research talent to enable us to grow Australia’s research capacity and capabilities. I commend the bill to the House and the work done on it by my ministerial colleague Senator Carr.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Markus) adjourned.