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Wednesday, 16 October 2002
Page: 5337


Senator SHERRY (6:45 PM) —I rise to speak on the Research Agencies Legislation Amendment Bill 2002. I know I cannot do justice to the topic of research in the same way that my colleague Senator Carr, who is our shadow minister in this area, can. My knowledge of research and development was particularly honed by my experience some years ago with research and development in the primary industries area when I was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy. As we are talking about research and development, I will highlight, in respect of its relevance to this bill, the importance of research and development in the primary industries area.

Australia is very fortunate to have such a range of primary industries in this country. When we talk about primary industries, we can range quite widely to cover areas such as wool, wheat, various horticultural areas, the wine industry, apples, pears and oranges—in short, a wide range of agricultural activities in this country. We have research and development bodies or corporations—they vary in their titles—where a levy system is applied to the industry and the industry provides a level of self-funded assistance through the levy system for research and development purposes. These research and development levies are matched by government grants. With regard to government grants—I have not kept up with this area as much as Senator Carr has—the level of government assistance matching that from industry does vary. I think it is a great example of a cooperative model in the primary industries area.

To expand more fully on the importance of research, I will call my esteemed colleague Senator Carr, who has just entered the chamber. I know that his more up-to-date knowledge is something that he wants to inform the Senate about in the minute and 25 seconds remaining to us. I do not want to deny Senator Carr the opportunity of compacting a 20-minute speech into one minute and 10 seconds, so I will conclude my remarks there.