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Govt's unimaginative approach to energy research and development



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Office of the Leader of the Opposition

STATEMENT BY BILL HAYDEN, M.P.

The Australian Government is niggardly and unimaginative

in its approach to energy research and development. But,

unfortunately, this is merely another reflection of the

Government's failure adequately to develop a systematic

and comprehensive energy policy.

Australia spends about $ 3 a year per head of population .

on energy R and D, compared with about $5 a head in

Canada and*.more than $9 a head in West Germany and the 1

United States>

Australia should be striving for a position of

international leadership in this field. Obviously,

we cannot spend as much in total as countries like the

U.S. and Germany but we should be building up to the same

comparative-effort. . .

.A-^systematidaily developed, integrated energy.policy

will depend crucially upon the level of Government support

for research and development.

Some of the many areas that should be covered are the ■ 1 1 .'"4····Î¹" s ■ . — '■· ‘ ' ' ■ ' ' ' ,

-prospects for alternative energy sources, comprehensive ■ ' ■ ■ ' V ' ' ^ /;· -·;·.■■. , . · · : . . · ■ · ·

-conservation studies, Australian specialisation — as, for

example, in solar energy development, and commercial

advantage, as in the earning of export income.

These are all vital considerations and it rs wrong that

they should be neglected because of the Government's mean-

■ ■ . ' · λ ; ' -- . . 2 / ·

minded attitude to R and D funding v U i i - u u i- ■ ' ■ · ______ · ■

Nothing has been more strikingly illustrative of this

niggardly attitude than the case in New South Wales where

a valuable solar energy research project, having been denied

funds by the Fraser Government, is now being financed by

a Middle East Government. _

. The Australian Government should have far greater

respect—and faith in the abilities and skills of the nation's

scientists and technologists, especially at a time of

contracting opportunities in other fields of activity.

CANBERRA 2 April 1979.

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