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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26596


Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science, upon notice, on 18 June 2004:

(1) For each of the next 3 financial years, how much has the Government allocated for research related to or using:

(a) stem cells; and

(b) human cloning technology.

(2) To whom will the money go.

(3) (a) What overview arrangements has the Government implemented; and

(b) will there be a report prepared on this matter for tabling in Parliament; if so, when.


Senator Vanstone (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) —The Minister for Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The honourable Senator may wish to note that expenditure on research in such areas may also be funded through other portfolios such as the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources. The following response has been prepared on a programme basis for the education, science and training portfolio.

Questions 1 and 2

CSIRO

(1) (a) The CSIRO will undertake expenditure on stem cell research over the next three financial years:

Financial Year

2004-05$000

2005-06$000

2006-07$000

Animal stem cells (non-human)

$866

$903

$942

(b) nil.

(2) The funds will be spent by CSIRO in three of its divisions - Livestock Industries, Health Sciences and Nutrition and Molecular Science - as well as in the Food Futures National Research Flagship.

Major National Research Facilities Programme (MNRF)

(1) (a) Under the MNRF, the Department of Education, Science and Training is providing $1.5m in 2004-05 and $1.5m in 2005-06 to the MNRF Division of the National Stem Cell Centre.

(b) Nil.

(2) The funding is provided to the National Stem Cell Centre (NSCC) Ltd.

Co-operative Research Centres (CRC) Programme

(1) (a) The CRC for Chronic Inflammatory Diseases is conducting research using murine (mouse) embryonic stem cells. This is part of just one of the Centre's five research programmes. Over the next three financial years the CRC Programme is contributing $3 464 000 to the Centre per annum. The funding provided to each CRC is for use across all approved CRC activities. It is not possible to identify the proportion of Australian Government funding allocated by each CRC to specific research programmes.

(b) Nil.

(2) The money is part of a seven year grant awarded to the CRC for Chronic Inflammatory Diseases.

Australian Research Council (ARC)

The ARC, through its National Competitive Grants Program, funds thousands of research proposals, across many areas, and it primarily uses the titles and summary information provided by applicants to identify these. The ARC has provided its input to the response to Senator Brown's question on the basis of such descriptions, but recognises that this may not represent the totality of its funding for the areas requested - it is not possible to easily identify funding beyond that provided below:

(1) (a) The funding provided by the ARC over the next 3 financial years for research described by applicants as relating to, or using, `stem cells' is:

Financial Year

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

$9,079,673

$9,646,355

$7,358,344

(b) Nil. The ARC does not fund research in `human cloning technology'

(2) The funding allocated by the ARC to these research projects will be paid to: Monash University, the National Stem Cell Centre, RMIT University, The Flinders University of South Australia, The University of Adelaide, The University of Queensland, The University of Western Australia, and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

Question 3

(3) (a) There are no specific collective overview arrangements within this portfolio for such research. However funding through the ARC and the MNRF and CRC Programmes all have their own requirements that are specific to funding and include, for example, annual reports to be provided documenting progress and that any prescribed ethical clearance or compliance arrangements are observed.

Regarding broader Government overview arrangements for such research the honourable Senator may wish to note that the Minister for Health and Ageing has portfolio responsibility for the National Health and Medical Research Council and its legislation, which also provides funding for health and medical research in Australia. The honourable Senator may also be aware that the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 require the initiation of independent reviews of the operation of each Act, scheduled to commence from the end of the year, with the outcomes of the reviews to be provided to the Council of Australian Governments and both Houses of Parliament by 19 December 2005. I understand that this process will be managed by the Minister for Ageing.

(b) At this time there is no intention to prepare a report for tabling in Parliament on such research expenditure in this portfolio.