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Budget defence science and technology not adequately funded



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MFWS RELEASE FROM COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

SENATOR JOCELYN NEW MAN ub. tas.

SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE SCIENCE & PERSONNEL

BUDGET DEFENCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NOT ADKQTTATRT.Y FUNDED

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) has not been adequately funded by the Government in Tuesday's budget.

DSTO is the second largest research and development organisation in Australia, with some 1000 professional scientists and engineers in its total staff of approximately 4400.

The major role of DSTO is in helping Australia to make best use of modern technology, providing scientific and technical advice on matters relating to all areas of defence and assisting in the transfer of technology to defence related industry. Although DSTO's principal customers are the Defence Force and the Department of Defence, their facilities are available for non-defence research.

Of the increased $8.4 million outlay for DSTO, more that a third ($3.1 million) is outlayed to pay the cost of guarding the DSTO facilities by the Australian Protective Service. The Government has put the cost of security onto the Defence Science slice of the budget. This leaves little for research and development.

Defence Science is seen as the basis for maintenance of our defence capabilities, by not having to rely on technology from overseas. How can the Government justify not adequately funding DSTO which goes to the grass roots of our self-reliance.

The budget indicates a financial trend running contrary to the Government's own policy of self-reliance outlined in the White Paper.

Outlays in the Defence Science area have averaged 2.7 % of total defence allocations over the ten years since 1979/80, with a peak of 3.1 % in 1981-82, declining to 2.5 % in 1989/90.

Outlays are forecast to decline again as a proportion of total defence outlays to about 2.2 % by 1992/93.

The Defence budget for 1989/90 is at its lowest level of GDP for 40 years. The 2.3 % of GDP falls far short of the Government's own Defence White Paper commitment which stated Defence would receive 2.6 to 3 % of GDP.

The Government has failed by not adequately funding Defence Science and in doing so has failed not only Defence but the future of Australian technology, research and development.

For further information please contact Senator Jocelyn Newman, Shadow Minister for Defence Science and Personnel on 062-773660