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Press statement by the hon M J R Mackellar MP shadow minister for science



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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BUDGET COMMENT

"The Minister has attached too high a priority to the work of the Commission for the Future and its enterprises," the Shadow Minister for Science, Michael MacKellar, said today.

"Although the figures are not mentioned in budget, $600,000 has been allocated to the Commission for the Future, a rise of 300% from the initial start-up figure of $200,000.

"The aim of the Commission is not to make policy but, according to the Minister, "to focus on and inform Australians about options each of us will have to choose about the future." The work of the Commission is to enable individuals "to exercise meaningful choices and careers, working life, appropriate

and relevant education, use of all leisure time and all related matters." .

"The emphasis being given the Commission with these visionary ; tasks comes at a time when the government still persists in a policy of negative growth for CSIRO. The budget shows CSIRO's actual expenditure in 1984/85 of- $324.9 r r . and an -

estimated $336.7 million in 1985/86. This is a 3.6% increase, ’ which, when discounted by the government's estimated non-farm ; product deflator of 7%, gives a negative growth in real terms. .

"The emphasis on the Commission is a distortion of priorities -at a time when the scientific community are being told to ‘

accept cut-backs. The Minister is like Maria Antoinette, i who suggested that the Paris mobs starving for bread should \ learn to eat cake.

"Moreover, the escalation of expenditure on the Minister's ; ■ concept of an ideal world seriously impedes the growth of 2

national understanding and support on the urgent tasks facing j j our scientists and tecnologists today," Michael MacKellar said. 1 9 . t ,

Canberra '

21 August 1985