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Budget 2004: $150 million sweetheart deal.



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PETER McGAURAN MP Commonwealth Minister for Science

Media Release

ALP - $150 MILLION SWEETHEART DEAL

13 May 2004

The Labor Party must name which of the 33 remaining Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) applicants in the current selection round will have their funding axed, to support their promise to fund 3 unsuccessful applications.

“While 19 applications were deemed unsuccessful, Senator Carr has hand-picked 3 proposed Centres for special treatment, leaving the remaining 16 unsuccessful applicants wondering why they have been overlooked for similar treatment,” Australian Government Science Minister Peter McGauran said today.

“The integrity of competitive research funding, which underpins Australia’s science and innovation system must not be corrupted by Labor’s political deals.”

In a Notice of Motion today, Senator Carr has called on the Senate to condemn the decision of the 13-member independent CRC Selection Committee, and calls on the Government to implement Labor’s sweetheart deal.

“Shadow Science Minister Kim Carr has committed more than $150 million of taxpayer’s money to fund the 3 proposed Centres, despite their applications being rejected by an independent selection committee,” Minister McGauran said.

“To honour his commitment to fully fund the 3 unsuccessful applications, the Shadow Minister must now identify which of the successful CRC’S he will strip more than $150 million funding from.

“Senator Carr’s special deal undermines the clearly defined independent selection process under which the CRC programme operates. There is no scientific basis for his intervention - his motives are purely political.

“Applicants seeking Government assistance through competitive funding programmes must be confident that their funding will be decided by an independent committee, free from political pressure and influence,” Mr McGauran concluded.

Further information: Jodie Naismith (Minister McGauran’s office) 03 9639 3199 or 0419 622 915