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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 2784

Budget


Senator CAROL BROWN (TasmaniaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:06): My question is to the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Farrell.

Senator Fifield: Come on down, Don!

Honourable senators interjecting

Senator CAROL BROWN: I am very honoured to ask the first question of Minister Farrell.

The PRESIDENT: When there is silence, I will ask—

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Everyone is happy? All right, Senator Brown.

Senator CAROL BROWN: Thank you, Mr President. Can the minister update the Senate on how the Gillard government's investment in science and research in the 2013-14 budget is supporting the Australian economy?







Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaMinister for Science and Research and Minister Assisting on Tourism) (14:07): I thank Senator Brown for her question.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator Abetz: Does the first answer have to be heard in silence?

The PRESIDENT: I have just had it asked of me: does the first answer have to be heard in silence? For the sake of the chamber: every answer has to be heard in silence! Thank you for that prompting, Senator—that was a very good prompt indeed. The senator is entitled to be heard in silence.

Senator FARRELL: Thank you, Mr President, for that protection. I would like to thank Senator Brown for her question and note the senator's ongoing interest in the science and research sector. The Gillard government remains committed to supporting a stronger, smarter and fairer nation. Building this sector is at the heart of our commitment. Supporting science and research fuels jobs and growth, increases productivity and supports Australian businesses to compete in the global economy.

For example, we have invested $185 million over two years in the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. This will support Australian researchers and research facilities to drive innovation and support high-quality jobs growth. NCRIS, as it is known, funds projects that support important research work that will benefit future generations. These projects include work on fabrication infrastructure to support advances in materials design, and earth imaging and geospatial systems of direct benefit to the mining industry.

This government knows our future prosperity relies on Australians having the skills and innovation needed to compete against the world's brightest. That is why the Gillard government has also announced $135 million over five years to extend the Future Fellowships scheme. This new funding will provide 150 more fellowships and builds on the government's original $844 million investment.

Importantly, the Gillard government has also committed $25 million over five years for Hobart's Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. Our commitment to both research and an ongoing presence in the Antarctic means jobs for Tasmanians and investments in the Australian and Tasmanian economies. (Time expired)






Senator CAROL BROWN (TasmaniaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:10): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for his answer. Can the minister further inform the Senate why it is important to invest in programs like Future Fellowships and the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy?


Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaMinister for Science and Research and Minister Assisting on Tourism) (14:10): I once again thank the senator for her question. The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy supports major research infrastructure to encourage collaboration between the research sector, industry and the Australian government to conduct world-class research. The Gillard government's investment of $185 million in this budget will ensure that Australian research continues to be competitive and ranked highly on the international scale.

I recently visited a new research facility for advanced microscopy technologies at the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide. Researchers at the Waite campus are tackling the global challenges of food security and sustainable food production as part of the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility. This important national project has benefited from $21 million in funding under NCRIS. The Future Fellowship scheme was announced in 2008 by the Labor government— (Time expired)


Senator CAROL BROWN (TasmaniaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:11): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. How does the investment in Hobart's Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre support research and the local economy?


Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaMinister for Science and Research and Minister Assisting on Tourism) (14:12): I thank Senator Brown, once again, for her question. As part of the 2013-14 budget the Gillard government has committed $25 million over five years for Hobart's Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. This announcement will help the CRC continue its world-leading research into Antarctic climate science and the uncertainties that currently limit the global response to climate change.

The funding will be provided from 1 July 2014 over a five-year period. The CRC is looking at the effects of acidity in the Southern Ocean and the impact of these changes to the Southern Ocean and Antarctic ecosystems and fisheries. This announcement reflects the government's support for the ongoing research capabilities and for the Tasmanian economy. There is a range of small businesses that support our work across a range of industries, and these include engineering, electronics and welding. Our commitment to both research and ongoing— (Time expired)