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Chief Scientist under scrutiny.



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11 December 2002

Chief Scientist Under Scrutiny

Greens Senator Bob Brown is seeking a Senate order for all advice by the Chief Scientist (Robin Battenham) on research funding allocation to be tabled by the first day of sitting in 2003 (4 February).

Senator Brown will give notice of the motion this afternoon and it will be voted on tomorrow.

“There is deep dismay in scientific circles that sunrise industries like solar power - and specifically the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Renewable Energy - are being de-funded while all funding in the current allocation to Cooperative Research Centres had gone to mining industry advancement,” Senator Brown said.

“The Chief Scientist is also the Chief Technologist for Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest mining multinationals.

“The Rio Tinto foundation was awarded $35 million in November and now CRCs with which it is involved gets $68 million. What government program did the $35 million grant to the Rio Tinto Foundation come from - that’s a mystery.

“These grants have to be measured against the refusal by the Howard Government to continue funding the CRC for Renewable Energy which, with just $10 million of grants in the last 7 years, has developed cutting-edge technology for solar power generation and solar hot water heating.

“This technology has enormous potential for domestic and export application, but is in direct competition with the coal industry”, Senator Brown said.

Further information: Ben Oquist 02 6277 3170, 0419 704 095

Category: Senate Office

Author: Ben Oquist