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Thursday, 3 March 2011
Page: 2312

Ms KATE ELLIS (Minister for Employment Participation and Childcare and Minister for the Status of Women) (11:01 AM) —in reply—It is my great pleasure to sum up this important piece of legislation and thank all members who have participated in the debate on the Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2010. As we have heard, this bill will support the ongoing operations of the Australian Research Council and three specific initiatives that will build Australia’s research capacity and promote excellence in our research. The bill updates the special appropriation amount administered by the Australian Research Council to include new funding for research in bionic vision science and technology, new funding for the Super Science Fellowships scheme, continued funding for National ICT Australia and an additional out-year and indexation of existing appropriation amounts in the Australian Research Council Act 2001.

The invention of a bionic eye will not only give and restore sight to tens of thousands of people around the world; it will also generate know-how that can be applied in many other areas. The 100 three-year Super Science Fellowships will support the next generation of researchers in our country. They will also complement our Australian Laureate Fellowships for established researchers, future fellowships for mid-career researchers and continued funding for National ICT Australia, the largest information and communications technology research organisation in Australia. This is absolutely essential to ensuring that Australia maintains its first-class reputation for research, training and commercialisation in this vital area.

Importantly this bill will see spending increase by approximately $889.6 million over the next four years. The proposed amendments change only the administered special appropriation; they do not alter the substance of the act or increase departmental funds. This is important legislation which will support the research our country needs to remain at the forefront of tackling global problems and also maintain Australian living standards. I commend the legislation to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.