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Friday, 5 December 1986
Page: 3507


Senator BUTTON —At Question Time today Senator Boswell asked me a question about the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.


Senator Brownhill —It was a very good question too.


Senator BUTTON —I want to rise to the challenge of the question; I am trying to elaborate on the answer that I gave earlier. In the course of answering that question I said that I thought that the percentage of CSIRO resources devoted to agricultural research was less than the 28 per cent suggested by Senator Boswell. That is in fact incorrect. According to the information I have, based on the allocation of professional staff in CSIRO sectors, the percentage allocated to rural research is 29.8 per cent in 1986 as compared with, say, 29.9 per cent in 1983 and 30 per cent in 1981. So really it has been pretty flat and there has been no significant change.

I just make the point that in addition to the resources allocated directly to agricultural research, significant resources of CSIRO are devoted to a whole range of issues such as production, handling, processing and transport which are also, of course, of considerable relevance to the agricultural sector. So, as I said earlier, I share Senator Boswell's concern that the CSIRO should give continuing support to the rural sector and that seems to be confirmed by the information that I have just provided.