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Staley attacks Govt over CRC farce.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science & Research 07/05/04

Staley attacks Govt over CRC farce

Former Federal Liberal Party President and former Fraser Government Minister Tony Staley has today gone on the attack over the Howard Government’s termination of the world renowned Photonics Cooperative Research Centre.

President of the Photonics CRC Mr Staley described the de-funding of the CRC as “indefensible” and said an appeal had been lodged with Science Minister Peter McGauran. Mr McGauran had the power to intervene, Mr Staley said.

The Photonics CRC is one of 19 that has had their funding terminated this week, in a farcical piece of policy lunacy from the Howard Government. Other CRC’s on the scrap heap include the world renowned Reef and Rainforest CRC’s in Queensland.

The Staley release said the Photonics CRC involved researchers from five States and Territories, with a $60 million contribution from universities and TAFES, and foreshadowed that more than $60 million would come from the private sector.

The funding bid bought together: the largest mobilisation of research capability in Australia for any project, reflecting the internationally recognised depth and breadth of Australia’s research expertise in photonics.

… this rejection is indefensible, not in accordance with the objectives of the CRC Program, and made on preliminary information without the examination of a stage 2 bid.

Further announcements on the opportunities lost to Australian Taxpayers will be made…, Mr Staley said.

Mr Staley’s strong words highlight must now be clear to the Prime Minister. The CRC program has been severely compromised, as has the future of public interest research, by his own Government’s rewrite of funding guidelines.

Minister McGauran is not up to the job, and it is time Mr Howard stepped in to clean up the mess.

The Howard Government’s narrow view of commercialisation is all about turning a quick buck at the expense of the long-term social and economic prosperity of the nation.

A Latham Labor Government will review these farcical decisions, rewrite the CRC guidelines, and support public interest research, which produces good jobs for our children.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson, 0410 522 262.