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Australian Science and Technology Council Act - Australian Science and Technology Council - Report - Year - 1983-84


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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL (ASTEC)

Annual Report

1983-84

Presented 25 February 1985 Ordered to be printed 28 March 1985

Parliamentary Paper No. 111/1985

Australian science and Technology Council Annual Report 1983-84

AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL

Report for the period 1 July 1983 to 30 June 1984

Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra 1984

© Commonwealth o f A u s tr a lia 198U

ISSN 0157-2997

Printed by C. J. T hompson, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra

a s t e c AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL

P.O. BOX E439

CANBERRA, A.C.T. 2 6 0 0

Tel. 72 4655

1 st Level, Wing 5

EDMUND BARTON BUILDING

BARTON, A CT. 2 6 0 0

REFER:

The Honourable R.J.L. Hawke, AC, MP Prime Minister Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

My dear Prime Minister,

ASTEC has the honour to submit to you this report on its operations for the period 1 July 1983 to 30 June 1984.

Yours sincerely,

(J-Ή. Carver) Deputy Chairman Chairman

For and on behalf of:

Sir Samuel Burston Mr J.N. Davenport Professor D.H. Green Dr P.D. Jones

Professor P.S. Kincaid-Smith Mr K.H. McLeod

Professor J.W. Nevile Professor G.A. Rigby Professor R.I. Tanner Mr P.M. Trainor

Dr D.W. Watts Mr L.S. Zampatti

MEMBERS OF ASTEC

Professor R.O. Slatyer, AO, FAA, FRS (Chairman) Professor of Biology, R esearch School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University

Professor J.H. Carver (Deputy Chairman) Director, R esearch School of Physical Sciences, Australian National University

Mr D.S. Adam (until 27 February 1984) G e n e ra l M anager C o rp o ra te Affairs, The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited

Sir Samuel Burston, OBE Grazier

Mr J.N. Davenport, AO, DSO, DFC & Bar, GM Company Director

Professor D.H. Green, FAA Professor of Geology, The University of Tasmania

Dr P.D. Jones (from 4 April 1984) Managing Director, Techway Pty Ltd

Professor P.S. Kincaid-Smith, CBE (from 4 April 1984) Professor of Medicine, University of Melbourne

Professor P.I. Korner, FAA (until 27 February 1984) Director, The Baker Medical Research Institute

Mr K.H. McLeod Federal Secretary, Australian Insurance Employees Union

Professor J.W. Nevile, FASSA Professor of Economics, The University of New South Wales

Mr L.G. Peres (until 27 February 1984) Reader in Political Science, The University of Melbourne

Professor M.G. Porter, FASSA (until 27 February 1984) D i r e c t o r , C e n tre of P olicy Studies, F a c u l t y of Economics and Politics,

Monash University

Professor G.A. Rigby, FTS Professor of Electrical Engineering, The University of New South Wales

Professor R.I. Tanner, FTS, FAA P.N. Russell Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sydney

Mr P.M. Trainor Chairman, Nucleus Ltd

i

Dr D.W. Watts (from 4 April 1984) Director, Western Australian Institute of Technology

Mr L.S. Zampatti Managing Director, Castlemaine Tooheys Limited

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERS OF ASTEC SECRETARIAT

The ASTEC S ecretariat has a total s ta ff of fifteen, ten of whom are

professionally qualified. They are:-Dr B.S. Middleton (Secretary) Mr I.R. Shortt (Assistant Secretary) Mr A.E. Jam es (Secretary to the Technological Change Committee) Dr P.C. Price

Mr P. St.J. Dawe

Dr M.J. Wardrop Dr T.E. Heyde Dr L. Rymer Ms J. Selby Smith Dr V.D. Sarma (since 31 January 1984)

Information Officer: Mr P. St. J. Dawe - telephone (062) 72 4655

a

CONTENTS

Introduction 1

Enabling Legislation 2

Responsible Minister Functions and Powers Freedom of Information Membership Meetings R ep o rts 5

Studies by Working P arties 8

Technological Change C om m ittee 12

Activities of Chairman and Members 18

S ecretariat Activities 19

Financial R eport 21

Appendix A. ASTEC reports 1983-1984 22

Appendix B. S ta te m e n t by the Prime Minister 23

on tabling ASTEC's Report "Australia's Role in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle" Appendix C. C om ments on proposal to establish 30

a Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology at the University of Sydney.

N W Μ M T f

INTRODUCTION

During t h e y e a r 1983-84 ASTEC m ade s i g n i f i c a n t chan g es in th e

d i r e c t i o n and e m p h a s is o f its a c t i v i t i e s . T hese c h a n g e s w ere in re s p o n se

to t h e G o v e r n m e n t 's s t a t e d p o lic ie s and p r i o r i t i e s in i m p o r t a n t a r e a s of

s c i e n c e , te c h n o lo g y and in d u s try , and as a r e s u lt o f th e C o u n c il's r e ­

ass e ss m e n t of i t s p a s t a c h ie v e m e n t s and f u t u r e ro le. M ajor d e v e lo p m e n ts

a f f e c t i n g th e C o u n c il's ro le d uring t h e y e a r included a re-affirm ation of the

i m p o r t a n c e w hich th e G o v e rn m e n t p la c e s on h aving ASTEC pro v id e

in d e p e n d e n t a d v ic e on s c i e n c e , te c h n o lo g y and r e l a t e d m a t t e r s , and th e

i n c r e a s e d p ro m in e n c e g iv en by t h e G o v e rn m e n t to s c i e n c e and te c h n o lo g y

p o lic y and i t s c o - o r d i n a t i o n w ith o t h e r policy a r e a s . This i n c r e a s e d

p ro m in e n c e was d e m o n s t r a t e d a t th e N a tio n a l T ec hnology C o n f e r e n c e in

S e p te m b e r 1983, and th ro u g h t h e s u b s e q u e n t d e v e lo p m e n t of a d r a f t

N a ti o n a l T ec h n o lo g y S tr a t e g y . C o n s is t e n t w ith a w ider in v o lv e m e n t of

ASTEC in m a t t e r s in which s c ie n c e and te c h n o lo g y are a major factor was

th e G o v e r n m e n t 's r e q u e s t in N o v e m b e r 1983 for ASTEC to u n d e r ta k e an

inquiry into Australia's role in the nuclear fuel cycle.

ASTEC has also c o n tin u e d i t s m ore t r a d i t i o n a l ro le of

c o n t r i b u t i n g to G o v e rn m e n t d e c is io n -m a k in g on s c i e n c e and te c h n o lo g y

m a tte rs in the following ways:

. p ro v isio n of b rie fin g to th e G o v e rn m e n t, th ro u g h th e P rim e

M in iste r, on any p ro p o sa l w ith a s i g n i f i c a n t s c ie n c e and t e c h ­

nology content which came before Cabinet;

. a d v ice to B udget C a b in e t on th e r e l a t i v e p r i o r i t i e s of those new

policy p ro p o s a ls b rought fo r w a rd by M in iste rs which involved

science and technology;

. a d v ice to t h e G o v e rn m e n t on c u r r e n t issu es involving science and

technology arising from any portfolio; and

. fo r m a l r e p o r t s on s u b j e c t s r e f e r r e d to t h e Council or initiated by

ASTEC itself.

One o f t h e G o v e r n m e n t 's p r i o r i t i e s is to a s s is t in the

restructuring of i n d u s try in a m an n er w hich i n c r e a s e s e c o n o m ic g ro w th but

c a u s e s th e l e a s t possible s o c ia l and e c o n o m ic d is ru p tio n . In s tru m e n ts of

s c i e n c e , te c h n o lo g y and in d u s try p o licy such as o f f s e t s r e q u ir e m e n t s ,

p r o c u r e m e n t p r o c e d u r e s , g r a n ts , and t a x i n c e n t i v e s , as well as o t h e r

i n s t r u m e n t s of in d u s try policy d e a lin g w ith t r a d e , subsidies and t a r i f f s ,

will p lay a v i t a l role in ac h ie v in g t h e s e ends. ASTEC has c o n t r i b u t e d to

th is p ro c e s s by i t s s tu d ie s of i n c e n t i v e s for in n o v a tio n in A u s tra lia n

in d u s try , and G o v e rn m e n t p u rc h a s in g and o f f s e t s p o lic ie s in i n d u s tria l

innovation. In a d d itio n , th e C h a irm a n of ASTEC is a m e m b e r of an i n t e r ­

d e p a r t m e n t a l s tu d y group on i n d u s try r e s t r u c t u r i n g which r e p o r t s to th e

Ad Hoe C o m m itte e of C a b in e t on In d u s try R e s t r u c t u r i n g . It is lik e ly t h a t

t h e i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p of s c ie n c e , te c h n o lo g y and in d u s try will be th e

subject of increased attention and study by ASTEC.

1

It was a p r o d u c ti v e y e a r for A STEC 's S ta n d in g C o m m i t t e e on

T ec h n o lo g ic al C hange (TCC). T h re e r e p o r t s to G o v e rn m e n t p r e p a r e d by

th e TCC w e re ta b l e d (s e e A ppendix A). P r o f e s s o r R igby became Chairman

of th e TCC in S e p te m b e r 1983, re p la c in g P r o f e s s o r C a rv e r who had been

acting in that position.

ENABLING LEGISLATION

The A u s tra lia n S c ien ce and T echn o lo g y C ouncil (ASTEC) was

e s ta b lis h e d as a s t a t u t o r y a u t h o r i t y on 28 F e b r u a r y 1979 under th e

A u s tra lia n S c ien ce and T e c h n o lo g y C ouncil A c t 1978. It s u c c e e d e d a

C ouncil e s t a b l i s h e d in 1977 by e x e c u t i v e a c ti o n , which in tu r n replaced an

interim body which had operated from 1976.

RESPONSIBLE MINISTER

The Australian Science and Technology Council re p o r ts to t h e P rim e Minister.

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS

The functions of the Council as defined in its Act are to i n v e s t i g a t e

and to furnish i n f o r m a tio n and a d v ice to th e Commonwealth Government on

issues relating to science and technology, including the following:

. the advancement of scientific knowledge

. th e development and application of science and technology in relation

to the furtherance of the national well-being;

. th e a d e q u a c y , e f f e c t i v e n e s s and o v e r a ll b a la n c e o f scientific and

technological activities in Australia;

• th e identification and support of new ideas in science and technology

likely to be of national importance;

. the practical development and application of scientific discoveries;

• th e f o s t e r in g o f s c i e n t i f i c and technological innovation in industry;

and

2

. th e m e a n s of im p ro v in g e f f i c i e n c y in th e use of resources by the

application of science and technology.

The C o u n c il is th e G o v e r n m e n t 's p rin c ip a l s o u rc e o f independent

advice on science and technology m atters. It maintains a broad overview of th e

s c ien c e and technology activities of Commonwealth Government departm ents and agencies, universities and private enterprise. In addition to providing a d v ic e to th e G o v e rn m e n t on new proposa ls and Budget m atters relating to science and

technology, the Council prepares reports in response to specific r e q u e s ts by th e G o v e rn m e n t or t h e P rim e M in iste r, and on its own initiative. It also provides

com m ent at the request of the G overnm ent on r e p o r t s p r e p a r e d by s p e c i a l i s t

g roups. ASTEC is o f t e n c o n s u lte d i n fo rm a lly by d e p a r t m e n t s and agencies

preparing proposals r e l a t i n g to s c i e n c e and te c h n o lo g y for c o n s id e r a tio n by

G o v e rn m e n t. This allow s th e sponsoring bodies to take into account ASTEC's

comments when completing their proposals. The Council appreciates the h e lp fu l co-operation of departm ents and agencies in this process.

ASTEC is e m p o w e re d to p ro d u c e r e p o r t s , e i t h e r a t th e P rim e

M in is te r 's r e q u e s t or on its own i n i t i a t i v e , such r e p o r t s to be t a b l e d in

P a r l i a m e n t ; to c o n d u c t in q u irie s , in c lu d in g public in q u irie s , and g a t h e r

in fo rm a tio n ; to engage consultants; to delegate its powers to a member of the

Council; and to appoint committees.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

During the year under review, no re q u e s t s w e re re c e i v e d under th e

Freedom of Information Act 1982.

MEMBERSHIP

T h re e m e m b e rs c o m p le te d t h e i r t e r m s o f a p p o in tm e n t on 27

F e b r u a r y 1984: P ro fe s s o r M.G. P o r t e r ; Mr L.G. P ere s; and

Mr D.S. A dam . P ro fe s s o r P.I. K o rn e r re sig n e d from th e C ouncil w ith

e f f e c t from 27 F e b r u a r y 1984, due to p re s s u r e of his o t h e r duties. Three

new members w e re a p p o in te d on 4 A pril 1984 for a perio d of t h r e e years:

P r o f e s s o r P.S. K in c a id - S m ith , P r o f e s s o r o f M edicine, U n iv e r s ity of

M elbourne; Dr D.W. W a tts, D i r e c t o r , W estern A u s tr a lia n I n s t i t u t e of

T ec hnology, P e r t h ; and Dr P.D. J o n e s , M anaging D i r e c t o r and C h a irm a n ,

Techway Pty Ltd, Sydney.

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MEETINGS

D u rin g th e y e a r ASTEC m et e le v e n t i m e s a t m o n th ly i n t e r v a ls

(e x c e p t in J a n u a r y ) , e a c h m e e tin g occ u p y in g one day. In a d d itio n a

special m eeting was convened in April for c o n s i d e r a t i o n of th e d r a f t r e p o r t

on A u s t r a l i a 's role in th e n u c l e a r fuel cy c le . Working p a r t i e s w ere

e s t a b l i s h e d as n e c e s s a r y to c a r r y out s tu d ie s on p a r t i c u l a r issu es and to

d r a f t r e p o r t s for t h e C o u n cil. In f o r m u l a t i n g t h e i r r e p o r t s and

r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s , w orking p a r t i e s v is ite d r e l e v a n t f a c i l i t i e s and held

e x t e n s i v e d is c u s s io n s w ith a p p r o p r i a t e groups and in d ividuals. Some

working p a r t i e s included n o n -C o u n cil m em b e rs a p p o in te d fo r t h e i r p a r t ­

icular expertise.

The p r a c t i c e of c i r c u l a t i n g p a p e rs for e a c h m e e t i n g to

appropriate g o v e r n m e n t d e p a r t m e n t s and a g e n c ie s c o n tin u e d . This e n a b le d

o b s e r v e rs fro m d e p a r t m e n t s and a g e n c ie s to a t t e n d and p a r t i c i p a t e in

discu ssio n s on p a p e rs as n e c e s s a r y , p ro m o tin g an a w a re n e s s of A STEC 's

p rogram and o f th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f i t s id e a s , and providing an opportunity

to c o n t r i b u t e to th e f o r m u l a t i o n of A STEC 's view s. ASTEC r e c o r d s its

appreciation of the contribution made by invited representatives.

A p a r t o f e a c h m e e tin g c o n tin u ed to be r e s t r i c t e d to ASTEC

m em b ers only, t o p e r m it th e fo r m u la tio n o f the Council's independent advice

after views had been heard in open session.

A t a number of meetings invited speakers presented special briefings. These were:

July 1983

November 1983

December 1983

February 1984

March 1984

April 1984

P ro fe s s o r K. H a n co ck , P r e s i d e n t , Academy of the Social

Sciences in Australia.

Dr B.W. S m ith , D i r e c t o r , R o y a l M elbourne I n s t i t u t e of

T echnology and C h a irm a n , A u s tra lia n C o m m i t t e e of

D i r e c t o r s and P rin c ip a ls o f C olle ges of A dvanced

Education.

P ro fe s s o r D.E. C aro, V ic e -C h a n c e llo r , U n iv e r s ity of

M elbourne, and C h a irm a n , A u s tr a lia n V ic e -C h a n c e llo r s ' Committee

Dr J.P . Wild, Chairman, CSIRO

Dr K. F o le y , Chairman, Australian Industrial Research and Development Incentives Board

Mr J .E . Kolm , C h a irm a n , N a ti o n a l E nergy R e s e a r c h ,

Development and Demonstration Council.

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REPORTS

ASTEC produces an informal Quarterly Work R e p o r t which is w idely d i s t r i b u t e d . It d e s c r i b e s s i g n i f i c a n t d e v e lo p m e n ts and pro v id es a re g u la r ,

up-to-date listing of current projects, t o g e t h e r w ith a b r i e f su m m ary of e a c h

and th e n am e o f a c o n t a c t o f f i c e r from whom f u r t h e r in f o r m a t i o n ca n be

obtained.

F our ASTEC r e p o r t s (l i s t e d a t Appendix A) were tabled during the

period under review, and a r e d e s c rib e d below . The s t a t e m e n t made by th e

P rim e M in iste r on ta b l i n g th e r e p o r t " A u s t r a l i a 's R o le in t h e Nuclear Fuel

Cycle" is reproduced at Appendix B, and c o m m e n ts on a prop o sa l for a la rg e

in stitute for cancer research in Sydney are a t Appendix C.

Inquiry into Australia's Role in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

During 1983 the Government conducted an e x a m i n a ti o n of p olicy in rela tio n to the export of Australian uranium. Arising from th a t examination the Prime Minister wrote to the C h a irm a n on 9 N o v e m b e r 1983, r e q u e s tin g t h a t

ASTEC u n d e r ta k e an inquiry in to A u s t r a l i a 's role in t h e nuclear fuel cycle,

examining in particular:

. Australia's nuclear safeguards arrangements, giving particular attention to the effectiveness of the bilateral and m ultilateral a g r e e m e n t s and

to the scope for strengthening these agreements;

. t h e o p p o r t u n i t ie s for A u s t r a l i a th ro u g h t h e c o n d itio n s o f its

involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle to f u r t h e r ad v a n c e th e cause

of n u c l e a r n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n having r e g a r d to th e p o lic ie s and

practices of recipient countries; and

. t h e a d e q u a c y o f existing technology for the handling and disposal of

w a s te p r o d u c ts by consu m in g c o u n t r i e s , and th e ways in which

A u s t r a l i a ca n f u r t h e r contribute to the development of safe disposal

methods.

The C ou n cil was s u b s e q u e n tly r e q u e s t e d to include some consideration of the

issu e s r a is e d by th e possible e x t r a c t i o n of th o riu m fo r n u c le a r use from

Australian mineral sands containing the mineral monazite.

The inquiry was conducted by a working party under the d i r e c t i o n of

t h e C h a irm a n . A s p e c ia l s e c retaria t was established, comprised of officers of

the ASTEC S ecretariat, the Departm ents of Trade and Foreign A ffa irs and th e

A u s t r a li a n A to m ic E n erg y C om m ission's Regulatory Bureau. ASTEC wishes to r e c o r d its th a n k s to th e s e o f f i c e r s and t h e i r a g e n c ie s for m aking th em

available.

S ubm issions to the inquiry were invited by newspaper advertisements, placed in November 1983, and fifty submissions were received from organisations and in d ividuals r e p r e s e n t i n g a wide r a n g e of opinions and i n t e r e s t s . The

5

Chairman and members of the working party met also with a number of individuals and representatives of o rg a n is a tio n s , inclu d in g som e o f th o s e who made submissions.

M em bers of t h e w orking p a r ty v is ite d t h e A u s tr a lia n S a fe g u a rd s

Office and the Australian Atomic Energy Com mission's R e s e a r c h L a b o r a to r ie s . As well, m e m b e r s of th e working party made short visits overseas in February

and March, visiting Japan, Sweden, Belgium , th e I n t e r n a t i o n a l A to m ic E nergy A gency in Vienna, th e E u ro p e an A to m ic E nergy C o m m u n ity in Brussels, the

United States, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, France and the U n ite d Kingdom.

T hese o v e r s e a s v is its allow ed m em b e rs o f th e w orking p a r t y to

canvass a wide range of opinions, to examine arguments made in subm issions to the inquiry in th e lig h t of th o se opinions and o f i n t e r n a t i o n a l n u c le a r

developments, to assess technical developm ents in w a s te m a n a g e m e n t and the a p p lic a tio n of safeguards, to form judgements of the effectiveness of Australian p o licies and to visit s e v e r a l n u c l e a r e s t a b l i s h m e n t s w here t h e y saw th e

a p p lic a tio n of s a f e t y and s a f e g u a r d s p ro c e d u re s. The w orking p a r t y was

assisted, particularly with technical advice, by several g o v e r n m e n t d e p a r t m e n t s and agencies, including the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, the Australian S afe g u a rd s O f f i c e , th e O f f i c e o f th e S upervising S c i e n t i s t, t h e A u s tr a lia n

Radiation Laboratory, and the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Environment, Resources and Energy, and Trade.

The o v e r a ll c o n c lu sio n of the r e p o r t was t h a t A u s t r a li a will be

best able to m ake a s i g n i f i c a n t c o n tr ib u tio n to n u c l e a r n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n if

it is a c ti v e ly involved in t h e n u c le a r fu e l c y c le . It was considered th at by

such in v o lv e m e n t A u s t r a li a would m ake a d i r e c t c o n t r i b u t i o n to th e

d e v e lo p m e n t o f th e c iv il n u c l e a r fu e l c y c le in ways t h a t would i n c re a s e

global e n e rg y s e c u r i ty , help t o s t r e n g t h e n th e e l e m e n ts of th e non­

p r o l i f e r a t i o n re g im e and help to r e d u c e t h e ris k s of m isuse o f civil

facilities and the diversion of n u c l e a r m a t e r ia ls from civil to m i li t a r y uses.

The r e p o r t c o n c lu d e d t h a t w ith o u t such in v o lv e m e n t global e n e rg y security

would be less ass u re d and A u s t r a li a 's a b ility to s t r e n g t h e n th e non­

p r o l i f e r a t i o n r e g im e and to in flu e n c e f u tu r e d e v e lo p m e n ts in the fuel cycle

would be reduced.

The r e p o r t e x a m in e d in d e t a i l th e e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f t h e N on­

Proliferation T r e a t y and t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l A to m ic E nergy A gency. I t m ade

re c o m m e n d a tio n s for a c ti o n s by th e A u s tra lia n G overnm ent to maintain and

s t r e n g t h e n t h e s e tw o i m p o r t a n t e l e m e n ts of th e n u c le a r n o n -p r o li f e r a t i o n

re g im e and in su p p o rt o f d is a rm a m e n t g e n e ra lly . An e x a m in a tio n of

Australia's b i l a t e r a l s a f e g u a r d s a r r a n g e m e n ts found th e m to be s a t i s f a c t o r y

and p roviding a s s u ra n c e t h a t uranium o f A u s tr a lia n o rig in re m a in s

a c c o u n ta b le w ith in th e n u c le a r fu e l cycle and is used only for p e a c e f u l

purposes. Only minor changes to these arrangements were recommended.

The report dealt with all aspects o f r a d io a c t i v e w a ste m a n a g e m e n t

and found t h a t s a t i s f a c t o r y a r r a n g e m e n ts for s a f e disp o sal o f all types of

r a d io a c t i v e w a ste can be made w ith te c h n o lo g ie s t h a t a re c u r r e n t l y

a v a ila b le . F u r t h e r d e v e lo p m e n t work is n e c e s s a r y in s p e c if ic a r e a s such

as th e c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n o f s u i t a b l e g e o lo g ic a l r e p o s it o r i e s for high lev el

w aste and co n tin u in g r e s e a r c h and d e v e lo p m e n t will le a d to f u r th e r

im p ro v e m e n ts in w a ste fo r m s and th e m u ltip le b a r r i e r s used to c o n ta in

6

r a d i o a c t i v e w a s te . The dum ping of low le v e l w a ste in th e ocean was also

identified as a subject requiring further study and the report recommended a c o n t i n u a t i o n o f t h e p r e s e n t m o r a t o r i u m on o c e a n dum ping u n til m ore

evidence is available. I m p o r t a n t re c o m m e n d a t i o n s applying to all a s p e c t s

of t h e disp o sal of high le v e l w a ste w e re t h a t Australia should encourage all

c o u n t r i e s to a d o p t th e b est p r a c t i c a b l e m a n a g e m e n t s t r a t e g i e s and t h a t

A u s t r a l i a should p a r t i c i p a t e a c t i v e l y in t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l re searc h programs

on waste forms and waste disposal strategies.

The r e p o r t was tabled in the Parliam ent by the Prime Minister on 31

May 1984.

Operation of National R esearch Granting Schemes

T h ere has b ee n an i n c r e a s e in r e c e n t y e a rs in th e r a n g e of

n a t i o n a l s c h e m e s d i s t r i b u ti n g g r a n t s fo r r e s e a r c h in s c ie n c e and t e c h ­

nology, which a r e wholly or p a r t l y funded by th e C o m m o n w e a lth G o v e rn ­

m e n t. The s c h e m e s a re an i m p o r t a n t e l e m e n t of g o v e r n m e n t s u p p o rt for

research in A ustra lia. In S e p te m b e r 1983 ASTEC p r e s e n t e d a r e p o r t which

d e s c r ib e d th e o p e r a t i o n o f th e s e s c h e m e s and in clu d ed g u id elin es and

recommendations to improve their effectiveness.

A m ajo r aim of th e r e p o r t was to ra is e a w a re n e s s of options for

funding t h a t a r e a v a ila b le under t h e whole ra n g e of s c h e m e s . A m e e tin g

was held w ith t h e C h a irm e n or r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of t h e s e schemes to discuss

a d r a f t of th e r e p o r t , and th e fin a l r e p o r t owed m uch to t h a t d iscussion.

ASTEC drew a t t e n t i o n to th e n ee d for th o s e a d m in s te r in g e a c h s c h e m e to

be a w a re of r e s e a r c h work in i t s a r e a which was funded from o t h e r

s o u rc e s , and to e n c o u r a g e c o l l a b o r a t io n and c o - o r d in a tio n in r e s e a r c h and

development by a variety of forms of financial support.

A sec o n d aim o f th e r e p o r t was to draw th e a t t e n t i o n o f th e

G o v e rn m e n t to ways in which a d m i n i s t r a t i v e s u p p o rt fo r som e o f th e

s c h e m e s could be im p ro v ed in o rd e r to m ake th e m ost e f f e c t i v e use of

funds. ASTEC re c o m m e n d e d t h a t s u p p o rt be p rovided for p ro p e r

e v a lu a t io n of p ro g re s s a c h ie v e d u n d er t h e sc h e m e s , and t h a t t h e r e be a

b ro a d e r provision fo r th e fo rw a rd c o m m i tm e n t of funds to e n a b le m ore

substantial research programs to be undertaken.

Incentives for Innovation in Australian Industry

This report, which was ta b le d in P a r l i a m e n t in August 1983, m ade

re c o m m e n d a t i o n s a im e d a t stimulating innovation in Australian industry by the pro v isio n of v e n t u r e c a p it a l and b u d g e ta r y a s s i s t a n c e fo r r e s e a r c h and

d e v e lo p m e n t in in d u s try . It recommended th at the Government encourage the development of a private sector venture c a p i t a l in d u s try , follow ing t h e broad

o u tlin e s u g g e s te d in t h e re p o rt of the High Technology Finance Com mittee of

the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences. The main re c o m m e n d a tio n c o n c e rn in g a s s i s t a n c e for i n d u s tr ia l r e s e a r c h and d e v e lo p m e n t was t h a t a

7

t a x a t i o n incentive scheme be introduced, in addition to the Australian Industrial Research and Development Incentives (AIRDI) S chem e P r o j e c t G ra n ts . At the close o f the reporting period, the Government had not taken a final decision on

this proposal. The G overnm ent has a c t e d to f a c i l i t a t e th e e s t a b l i s h m e n t of

M a n a g em en t In v e s tm e n t Companies through which tax incentives for investment in high technology enterprises will be a v a ila b le , and which will a s s is t in th e

development of a local venture capital market.

Guidelines for the Operation of National Research Facilities

This s tu d y was i n i t i a t e d by ASTEC in 1982, and th e r e p o r t was

p r e s e n te d in M arch 1984. In t h e f i r s t volum e (Volume 1 A) of its r e p o r t

'S c ie n c e and T echnology in A u s t r a li a 1 9 77-78', ASTEC m ade a n u m b e r of

c o m m e n ts and r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s co n c e rn in g n a t i o n a l and re g io n a l r e s e a r c h

f a c i l it i e s . The re c o m m e n d a t i o n s w ere c o n s id e r e d and en d o rs e d by the

G o v e rn m e n t in 1979, and have becom e th e basis on which proposa ls for

ex p e n s iv e s c i e n t i f i c e q u ip m e n t or f a c i l i t i e s a r e co n sid ered . The 1984

re p o r t d ev e lo p e d f u r t h e r th e broad p o lic y g u id elin es p re v io u s ly

recommended by ASTEC for th e e s t a b l i s h m e n t and o p e r a tio n o f n a t i o n a l or

re g io n a l r e s e a r c h f a c i l i t i e s , while m a in ta in in g r e c o g n itio n o f th e need for

fle x ib ility to t a k e a c c o u n t of t h e p a r t i c u l a r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and nee d s of

individual facilities.

The r e p o r t re c o m m e n d e d t h a t w h e n e v e r possible a n a tio n a l

r e s e a r c h f a c i l i t y be a s s o c ia te d w ith and o p e r a t e d by a s u i t a b l e host

i n s titu tio n . It also re c o m m e n d e d t h a t a l l o c a ti o n o f tim e at the facility be

u n d e r ta k e n by an in d e p e n d e n t s t e e r i n g c o m m i tt e e and based on th e m e rit

of r e s e a r c h p ro p o s a ls , a lth o u g h tim e m ight also be a l l o c a te d to th e host

institution fo r m a in te n a n c e of th e f a c i l it y or o t h e r n o n - r e s e a r c h purposes.

ASTEC also c o n c lu d e d t h a t c h a rg e s levied on u s ers of a f a c i l it y should be

a t a r a t e s u f f i c i e n t to r e c o v e r th e a d d itio n a l c o s ts of u n d e r ta k in g a

p a r t i c u l a r p r o j e c t , but n o t th e c a p it a l or g e n e r a l o p e r a tin g c o s ts of the

facility.

STUDIES BY WORKING PARTIES

Higher Education R esearch Funding

The Council began a study of mechanisms for the support of research in tertiary education institutions in October 1982. The em p h asis of th e stu d y

has been to examine ways to use the resources available for this research more

selectively, to allow gre ater competition for r e s e a r c h funds, and to f a c i l i t a t e

gre ater concentration on the more excellent researchers and their projects. Mr Shortt of the S ecretariat undertook an overseas study tour on this t o p ic during

the year. The report is nearing completion.

Inquiry into Commonwealth Laboratories (Ross Report)

In A pril 1984 ASTEC s e t up a w orking p a r t y to stu d y th e Ross

R e p o r t . It will p r e p a r e a d v ice to t h e G o v e rn m e n t on th o s e aspects of the

R eport which are relevant to ASTEC's responsibilities.

Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology

During the early p a r t of 1984 ASTEC e x a m in e d a proposal by th e

U n iv e rs ity of Sydney and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for the establishment of a Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology in the grounds of

th e u n iv e rs ity . The proposal called for a capital expenditure of $36 million, to

be shared equally by the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments.

The p ro p o s a l was e x a m in e d in d e t a i l by a s m a ll working party of

ASTEC, and its report (printed a t Appendix C) was used as a basis for A STEC 's

comments to the Government on this proposal.

Prim ary Industry R esearch and Development

A w orking p a r t y of ASTEC was established to investigate reports in

the rural press th a t the Commonwealth Government had reduced substantially its s u p p o rt for a g r i c u l t u r a l r e s e a r c h , and to exam ine the operation of the rural

industry research funds. Total expenditure on research was found to have fallen o v er th e l a s t t h r e e y e a r s , alth o u g h r e c u r r e n t expenditure (as against capital

e x p e n d itu r e ) had i n c r e a s e d . One e x p l a n a t io n was t h a t C o m m o n w e a lth

e x p e n d it u r e on a g r i c u l t u r a l r e s e a r c h was returning to the 1978-79 level, the

rise and then decline in recent years being due to the large capital e x p e n d itu r e

on the Australian National Animal Health Laboratory a t Geelong.

The w orking p a r t y began a stu d y of th e r u r a l in d u s try r e s e a r c h

funds, but found t h a t its in v e s t i g a t i o n co in cid e d with an examination of the

fu n d s' o p e r a t i o n s from both w ith in and o u tsid e th e G o v e rn m e n t. The

D epartm ent of Primary Industry had initiated a Joint Management Review of the a d m i n i s tr a t i o n o f th e funds, t h e r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s of w hich were to be

c o n s id e r e d by G o v e rn m e n t. A d d itio n a lly , p ro d u c e r groups and r e s e a r c h

organisations w e re d iscu ssin g th e ro le of t h e funds in a g r ic u l tu r a l r e s e a r c h

g e n e ra lly . The G o v e rn m e n t has a l r e a d y d ec id e d to establish an Australian

Livestock and M ea t R e s e a r c h and D e v e lo p m e n t C o rp o ra tio n to r e p la c e th e

Australian Meat R esearch Committee.

At the end of the reporting period, the working party was preparing a

b r i e f r e p o r t on r e c e n t t r e n d s in th e funding of a g r i c u l t u r a l r e s e a r c h in

Australia.

9

Nuclear Science and Engineering

In A ugust 1983 ASTEC began a s tu d y o f n u c le a r s c ie n c e and

e n g in e e rin g a c t i v i t i e s in A u s t r a li a . The s tu d y is surveying: th e te a c h in g

and t r a i n i n g o f s t u d e n t s ; r e s e a r c h and d e v e lo p m e n t p ro g ra m s ; and the

a p p lic a tio n o f n u c l e a r t e c h n iq u e s in fie ld s such as m e d ic in e , m ining and

m a n u fa c tu rin g . The im p o r t a n c e of n u c le a r t e c h n iq u e s for e f f i c i e n t analysis

and measurement is likely to i n c r e a s e , but th e f a c i l i t i e s r e q u ir e d to s u s ta in

e f f e c t i v e r e s e a r c h and d e v e lo p m e n t p ro g ra m s fo r th e s e te c h n iq u e s are

ex p e n siv e . H e n c e , t h e r e a r e b e n e f its if th e p ro g ra m s of d i f f e r e n t

i n s t it u t i o n s a r e c o m p l e m e n t a r y and if m ajor equipm ent can be shared. The

aim of the study is to i d e n t i f y a r e a s o f r e s e a r c h which could be develo p e d

and applied in A u s t r a li a and th e r e s o u r c e s re q u ir e d for s uch developm ent.

Defence Science and Technology

A D e fe n c e S c ie n c e and T ec hnology w orking p a r t y was ap p o in te d

in June 1983. It was asked to m ake a p r e lim in a r y in v e s t i g a t i o n of d e f e n c e

s c ie n c e and te c h n o lo g y in o rd e r to d e t e r m in e if a detailed study by Council

would be a p p r o p r i a t e . In c a r r y in g out th is ta s k th e working p a r ty

u n d e rto o k a g e n e r a l o v e rv ie w o f A u s tra lia n d e f e n c e s c ie n c e and technology

and held d e t a i l e d discu ssio n s w ith the C h ie f D e fe n c e S c i e n t i s t, w ith ea ch

of the C h ie fs of S ta f f , w ith s e n io r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s from in d u s try and with

officials from the Departm ent of Defence Support.

The working p a r t y c o n s id e re d tw o issu es as being p a r ti c u la r l y

important:

. th e extent to which the Defence Science and Technology Organisation

(DSTO) was providing a satisfactory s e r v ic e to its m a jo r c u s to m e r ,

the defence force; and

. th e e x t e n t to which DSTO o p e r a t i o n s f a c i l i t a t e d th e flow -on to

defence i n d u s try and to n o n -d e fe n c e a r e a s of th e b e n e f i t s o f its

activities.

The working p a r t y concluded t h a t th e Australian Defence Force is

w ell-served by DSTO, w hich re c o g n is e s th e i m p o r t a n c e of i n t e r a c t i o n w ith

in d u stry , and t h a t t h e r e was no re aso n for ASTEC to carry out a full-scale

investigation of defence science and technology. H o w e v er, th e working p a r ty did draw a t t e n t i o n to a n u m b er of issues such as te c h n o lo g y t r a n s f e r ,

contracting out and procurement which might fall within the term s of r e f e r e n c e of o th e r working parties and which might consequently be examined in a wider context.

International Science and Technology Activities

The I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c ien ce and T echnology A c ti v i t ie s working

p a r ty c o m p le te d a re v ie w o f A u s t r a li a 's g e n e r a l purpose s c ie n c e and

10

te c h n o lo g y a g r e e m e n t s . The r e p o r t e x a m in e d b o th th e s c ie n c e and

te c h n o lo g y ro le and t h e fo reig n po licy role o f t h e s e a g r e e m e n t s and

d is c u s s e d t h e i r m a n a g e m e n t. The r e p o r t was p r e s e n t e d to th e P rim e

M in iste r on 25 J u n e 1984. It will be t a b l e d during th e B udget Session of

Parliament.

Government Purchasing and Offsets Policies in Industrial Innovation

A l o n g -s ta n d in g w orking p a r t y has been e x a m in in g p o lic ie s to

e n c o u ra g e i n d u s t r i a l in n o v atio n and th e c r e a t i o n o f new te c h n o lo g y - b a s e d

firms in A u s tra lia . In A ugust 1983 i t was d e c id e d t h a t it should e x a m in e

th e ro le of G o v e rn m e n t p u rc h a s in g and o f f s e t s p o lic ie s in p roviding

m a r k e t s for in n o v a tiv e A u s tr a lia n firm s . D iscussions w e re held w ith

o f f i c e r s of C o m m o n w e a lth and S t a t e g o v e r n m e n t d e p a r t m e n t s and with

r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f a r a n g e of firm s. T hese in v e s t i g a t i o n s su g g e s te d t h a t

A u s t r a li a n firm s , and goods m ade in A u s t r a li a , have o f t e n been dis­

a d v a n ta g e d by s o m e o f th e p r a c t i c e s in g o v e r n m e n t purc h asin g . The

r e s u lt i n g r e p o r t re c o m m e n d s m e a s u r e s to e n a b le A u s t r a li a n firm s to

c o m p e t e on a m ore e q u a l basis, and w hich will f o s t e r a c l i m a t e w h e re

G o v e rn m e n t e x p e n d it u r e on goods and s e r v ic e s (lo c a lly and o v e rs e a s )

b e n e fits th e A u s t r a li a n e c o n o m y m ore e f f e c t i v e l y in th e long t e r m . It is

e x p e c t e d t h a t t h e r e p o r t will be p r e s e n t e d to the Prime Minister and tabled

in Parliament early in the next financial year.

11

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE COMMITTEE

FUNCTIONS

The Technological C hange C o m m i t t e e (TCC) was e s t a b l i s h e d as a

s ta n d in g c o m m i t t e e of ASTEC in May 1981, follow ing a r e q u e s t by the

Government. The formation o f s uch a c o m m i t t e e had been re c o m m e n d e d by

the C om m ittee of Inquiry into Technological Change in Australia.

The C om m ittee's term s of reference are:

. to m a in ta in a c o n tin u in g review of th e p ro c e s s e s and t r e n d s in

technological change in A u s t r a li a and e ls e w h e re , and e v a lu a t e and

r e p o r t on t h e d i r e c t and in d ir e c t e f f e c t s a t t h e n a tio n a l lev el

including social, economic and technological effects;

. to identify and evaluate new and changing technologies of importance

to A u s t r a li a , and f a c t o r s fa v o u rin g , or r e s t r a i n t s im peding, the

in tr o d u c t i o n or d iffu sio n w ithin A u s t r a li a of new or e x is tin g

technologies;

. to co n s id e r co m m u n ity a t t i t u d e s re c o g n is in g th e need to increase

national community awareness and understanding of issues aris in g as the result of technological change;

. to c a r r y out s tu d ie s o f te c h n o lo g ica l change as required above and

also in response to re q u ests from ASTEC, n o tin g t h a t ASTEC may

receive requests from the Commonwealth Government; and

. to r e p o r t to ASTEC m aking re c o m m e n d a tio n s , w here appropriate,

aimed at deriving maximum benefit to A u s tra lia from te c h n o lo g ic a l change.

MEMBERS

M em bers of th e TCC a re ap p o in te d by ASTEC p u rs u a n t to

S ectio n 24 o f th e ASTEC A ct. During th e y e a r under re view , members of

the TCC were:

. P ro fe s s o r G.A. R igby, FTS, (C h a irm a n of th e C o m m i t t e e from 9

September 1983, and a member of ASTEC)

. P ro fe s s o r J .H . C a r v e r (A c tin g C h a irm a n o f the Committee until 8

September 1983, and Deputy Chairman of ASTEC)

12

■ Professor R.O. Slatyer, AO, FAA, FRS, (Chairman of ASTEC)

. Dr E. Brodribb, (since 28 June 1984)

Company Director

Professor B.L. Johns, (until 11 May 1984) Director of the Bureau of Industry Economics

Mr T. Johnson, Assistant National Secretary, Electrical Trades Union

Dr R. Johnston, (since 28 June 1984) Chairman, D epartm ent of History and Philosophy of Science University of Wollongong

Professor D. Lamberton, Professor of Economics, University of Queensland

Mr P. Laver, (since 11 May 1983) G e n e ra l M an a g er, O p e ra tio n s , S te e l D ivision, The Broken Hill

Proprietary Company Limited

Mrs E. Manley, OBE (until 11 May 1984) Company Director

Mr J.P. Maynes, (since 17 January 1984) Federal President, Federated Clerks' Union of Australia

Mr K.H. McLeod (member of ASTEC)

Mr L.G. Peres, (until 27 February 1984, member of ASTEC)

. Dr S. Richardson

Lecturer in Economics, University of Adelaide

. Professor A. Tay, (since 28 June 1984)

Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Sydney

MEETINGS

The C o m m i t t e e held se v e n m e e tin g s in 1983/84. F ollow ing

e s t a b l i s h e d p r a c t i c e , S t a t e g o v e r n m e n ts and Commonwealth departm ents and a g e n c ie s w ith an i n t e r e s t in th e w ork of th e C o m m i t t e e w ere in v ite d to

send o b s e r v e rs to t h e m e e tin g s . T he c o n tr ib u tio n s m ade by th e s e

observers were of considerable assistance to the Committee.

At a n u m b e r of m e e tin g s g u e s t sp e a k e rs w ere in v ite d to address

the Committee. These were:-

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October 83: Professor R .J. Blandy

Director o f The National Institute of Labour Studies, Adelaide

November 83: Dr P. Pockley Advisor, Public Affairs, University of New South Wales

February 84: Mr A Goldsworthy General Manager and Chief Executive, SGIO Building Society, Brisbane

March 84: Senator G.N. Jones

C h a irm a n o f The S e n a te S ta n d in g C o m m i t t e e on Science and

Technology and The Environment

REPORTS

Technology and Handicapped People

This r e p o r t was ta b l e d in P a r l i a m e n t on 8 May 1984. It examined

the v a rio u s ways te c h n o lo g y ca n a f f e c t h a n d ic a p p e d people, bo th to t h e i r

a d v a n ta g e and d is a d v a n ta g e . It concluded t h a t h an d ic a p p e d people are not

receiving the full b e n e f i t s which te c h n o lo g y could bring th e m , i r r e s p e c t i v e

of w h e th e r th e lev el o f te c h n o lo g y is sim p le or sophisticated and computer-

based, and t h a t th e m ain b a r r i e r s to i n c r e a s e d use of te c h n o lo g y by

handicapped people are the lack of adequate income and information.

R e c o m m e n d a tio n s m ade to im p ro v e e x is tin g s c h e m e s included:

in c re a s e d funding for In d e p e n d e n t Living C e n t r e s and for Technical Aid to

the Disabled groups; g r e a t e r i n t e g r a ti o n of C o m m o n w e a lth p ro g ra m s which

provide aids and te c h n o lo g y to h an dica pped people; b ro a d e r a p p lic a tio n of

the Program of Aids to D isab led People s c h e m e ; and im proved m a n a g e m e n t

of s h e l t e r e d w orkshops to m e e t the c h a lle n g e s posed by te c h n o lo g ic a l

change.

Two new i n i t i a t i v e s re c o m m e n d e d w e re e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a

r e h a b i l i t a t i o n e n g in e e rin g c e n t r e in e a c h S t a t e , and a pilo t p ro g ram for

s ta n d a r d s and t e s t i n g fo r a li m i t e d n um ber o f m ajor aids for han d ica p p ed

people.

Technological Change and Employment

This r e p o r t , which fo c ussed on t h e s o cial and e c o n o m ic

co n sequences of t e c h n o lo g ic a l change, was ta b l e d in P a r l i a m e n t in August

1983. It pro v id ed an e x p l o r a t o r y o verview o f r e c e n t l y o b se rv e d e f f e c t s

and t r e n d s , based on a su rv e y of published A u s tr a lia n and m ajor o v e rs e a s

14

s t u d i e s , of th e m any a s p e c t s to t h e r e la t io n s h i p s b e tw e e n te c h n o l o g i c a l

change and employment. It in d ic a te d t h a t g e n e r a l e c o n o m ic c o n d itio n s have

a d v e r s e ly i n flu e n c e d jobs in r e c e n t y e a r s , but c h a n g e s in te c h n o lo g y have

c l e a r l y also r e d u c e d e m p lo y m e n t d i r e c t l y in som e o c c u p a tio n s , or led to

g r o w t h in o u t p u t w ith o u t a c o r re s p o n d in g in c r e a s e in jobs in o th e rs . The

r e p o r t n o ted t h a t t h e r e had been an i n c re a s in g s e p a r a t i o n of jobs in to

th o s e re q u irin g h ig h e r, or lo w er, le v e ls of s k ills, and t h a t many o f th e

l o w e r - s k ille d jobs w e re being e l i m i n a t e d . Also, in som e r e s p e c t s ,

d i s t in c ti o n s b e tw e e n jobs in d i f f e r e n t i n d u s tr ie s w e re becoming less marked

b e c a u s e of th e w id e s p r e a d in tr o d u c t i o n o f m i c r o - e l e c t r o n i c s . The r e p o r t

e m p h a s is e d t h a t te c h n o lo g y i t s e l f did no t d i c t a t e job design or work

o r g a n is a ti o n , and a rg u e d t h a t m any of th e p o ssible a d v e rs e e f f e c t s of

te c h n o l o g i c a l c h a n g e on th e n a t u r e o f work could be avoided, th ro u g h

appropriate consultation and job design.

The r e p o r t m ade r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s to s tim u la te new industries and

employment opportunities based on m o re e f f e c t i v e c o m m e r c i a l i s a t io n o f new p r o d u c ts . The i m p o r t a n c e of i n v e s tin g in hum an sk ills th ro u g h e d u c a tio n

and training, and of retraining to f a c i l i t a t e t h e a d a p t a t i o n o f th e w o rk f o rc e

to te c h n o l o g i c a l c h a n g e , w ere also re c o g n is e d . The r e p o r t proposed t h a t

a c t i o n be t a k e n to im p ro v e o p p o r t u n i t ie s fo r in d iv id u a ls to d e v e lo p or

upgrade skills as circum stances change during their working lifetimes.

The r e p o r t also e m p h a s is e d t h e need fo r e f f e c t i v e and

c o m p re h e n s iv e c o n s u l t a t i o n b e tw e e n e m p lo y e rs and e m p lo y e e s c o n c e rn in g

th e in tr o d u c t i o n of new te c h n o lo g y , n o tin g th e i m p o r t a n c e of w ork e r

p a r t i c i p a t i o n in th is p rocess. I t drew a t t e n t i o n to th e d e g r e e of

occupational segregation of women to le s s skille d jobs, w hich a re r e l a t i v e l y

m o re v u ln e ra b le to t e c h n o lo g ic a l c h a n g e. It re c o m m e n d e d t h a t a study be

u n d e r ta k e n to a s s i s t in d e v e lo p in g p o lic ie s to e n c o u r a g e t h e p a r t i c i p a t i o n

of women in a wider range of occupations.

The G o v e rn m e n t has m any o f th e issues r a is e d in th is r e p o r t

under active consideration.

Videotex

V ideotex is re g a r d e d as being of p a r t i c u l a r im portance within the

fie ld of in f o r m a t i o n te c h n o lo g ie s . I t s i n t r o d u c t i o n re q u ir e s d ec isio n s by

th e G o v e rn m e n t b e c a u s e of its n a t i o n a l and i n t e r n a t i o n a l public character;

its d em ands on t h e pu b lic c o m m u n ic a tio n s i n f r a s t r u c t u r e ; its im p lic a tio n s

for g o v e r n m e n t a d m i n i s tr a t i o n s ; and b e c a u s e i t s w id e s p re a d use im p lies

legislative and r e g u l a t o r y chan g es. This r e p o r t e x a m in e d t h e o p p o r tu n itie s

and c o n s e q u e n c e s of in tro d u c in g in to A u s t r a li a i n t e r a c t i v e d a t a - b a s e

s e r v i c e s t h a t a r e sim p le to use, in e x p e n s iv e , and s u ite d t o th e n ee d s of

the general public as well as business and industry.

Two consultant s tu d ie s c o n t r i b u t e d to th is p r o j e c t . Mr T. C ohen

pro v id ed a stu d y o f v id e o te x e x p e r i e n c e in th e U n ite d Kingdom, F ra n c e ,

Canada and th e USA; and Mr O. Simon p rovided a s tu d y of B ild s c h ir m te x t

in West G e rm a n y . The r e p o r t re c o m m e n d e d t h a t t h e G o v e rn m e n t in v ite

T e le c o m A u s t r a li a to p r e s e n t p ro p o sa ls for th e e a r l y e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a

n a tio n -w id e p u b l i c - a c c e s s v id e o te x s e r v ic e . It also re c o m m e n d e d giving a

15

lead in d e v e lo p in g in f o r m a t i o n te c h n o lo g y and building an in fo rm a tio n

re s o u rc e in th is c o u n t r y , th ro u g h in c re a s in g s u p p o rt for th e in t r o d u c t i o n

of interactive information services in government agencies.

The report was tabled in P a r l i a m e n t on 20 S e p te m b e r 1983. The

r e c o m m e n d a tio n t h a t th e G o v e rn m e n t in v ite T e le c o m A u s t r a li a to p re s e n t

prop o sa ls for th e e a r l y e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a n a tio n -w id e , p u b lic -a c c e s s

v id e o te x s e r v ic e allow ing p rovision for e n t r y to th ird p a r t y databases, was

implemented by the Government.

Technological Change and Migrant Employment

In M arch 1983 th e N a tio n a l I n s t i t u t e of L abour S tu d ie s was

co m m issio n e d by th e T e c h n o lo g ic a l C hange C o m m i t t e e to p r e p a r e a report

on the e ffec ts of technological change on th e e m p lo y m e n t of m ig ra n ts . The

task had i t s origins in an A u s tra lia n I n s t i t u t e o f M u ltic u ltu ra l A ff a irs

a s s e s s m e n t of th e e f f e c t i v e n e s s w ith w hich th e re c o m m e n d a tio n s o f the

G alb a lly R e p o r t (R ev iew of P o s t- A r r iv a l P ro g ra m s and S e rv ic e s for

M igrants, 1978) had b ee n im p le m e n te d . It re c o m m e n d e d t h a t th e T ec h ­

nological C hange C o m m i t t e e give a t t e n t i o n s p e c if ic a l l y to th e e f f e c t on

migrant groups of the introduction of technological change.

The r e p o r t by th e N a tio n a l I n s t i t u t e of Labour Studies has been

published as Working Paper No. 62 of the Institute. It was based on analyses of

cen su s d a ta , case studies of firms in the motor vehicle industry, the whitegoods industry and th e c o n s t r u c ti o n in d u s try , and a m ail su rv e y of firm s . In its

re p o r t 'T e c h n o lo g ic a l C hange and Employment' the TCC concluded that there was a need to determ ine whether particular categories of e m p lo y e e s , including m ig ra n ts , have p a r tic u la r training and retraining needs. This consultants' study confirmed the need for concern about migrant groups, particularly in r e la tio n to

English language skills. It also confirmed the concern of the TCC th a t too little

consultation b e tw e e n e m p lo y e r s and em p lo y ee s o c c u r r e d in in tro d u c in g new te c h n o lo g y , and th e i m p o r t a n c e of m a n a g e ria l p r a c t i c e s in determ ining the

effect of technological change on employment.

WORKING PARTY STUDIES

Computer R elated Technologies in the Metal Trades Industry

This study focuses on three main issues: the contribution which new c o m p u t e r - r e l a t e d te c h n o lo g ie s can make to th e im proved p e r f o r m a n c e of

individual firms; the range of influences which favour or r e s t r a i n th e ad o p tio n of th e s e new technologies; and the effec t of their introduction on employment, skill levels and th e w orking e n v iro n m e n t. In o rd e r to s u p p le m e n t th e very

lim ite d i n f o r m a tio n a v a ila b le on th e adoption of new technologies within the

Australian manufacturing sector, a sample of firms in the metal t r a d e s in d u stry was s e l e c t e d fo r in te rv ie w . In te r v ie w s w ere also held with firm s in other

1 6

s e g m e n ts of t h e m e t a l tra d e s industry and with vendors, consultants and other

interested parties. At the end of the reporting period, a draft report was being

prepared for consideration by the TCC.

New Office Technology

This w orking p a r ty was e s t a b l i s h e d to e x a m in e and report on the

social and economic effec ts at th e n a t i o n a l le v e l of th e i n tro d u c tio n of new

o f f i c e te c h n o lo g y . A c o n s u lta n c y c o n t r a c t was l e t for a pilot s tu d y , to:

develop a baseline in t h e A u s tra lia n o f f i c e te c h n o lo g y m a rk e t; c o m p a re th e

A u s t r a li a n s i t u a t i o n w ith t h a t e x is tin g o v e rs e a s ; b r ie f ly surv e y th e e ffec ts

of o f f ic e te c h n o lo g y on o r g a n is a ti o n a l s t r u c t u r e s and r e la tio n s h ip s ; and

p ro p o se an o p tim u m a p p r o a c h to a full s tu d y of new o f f ic e technology. At

a l a t e r s t a g e th e s tu d y is e x p e c t e d to a n a ly s e th e c h a n g ed e f f i c i e n c y and

e f f e c t i v e n e s s of o f f i c e fu n c tio n s th ro u g h th e in t r o d u c t i o n of new t e c h ­

nology, paying p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n to t h e e x t e n t to w hich e x p e c t e d c o st

re d u c t i o n s and i n c r e a s e d e f f i c i e n c y a r e a c h ie v e d in p ra c tic e . It is planned

t h a t issues lik e ly to re q u ir e a t t e n t i o n a t a n a t i o n a l level and th e

opportunities for exploitation of the technology by users will be identified.

17

ACTIVITIES OF CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS

Activities of Chairman

In J u ly 1983 th e C h a irm a n v is ite d a n u m b er of overseas national

and i n t e r n a t i o n a l o rg a n is a ti o n s and a g e n c ie s in th e U n ite d Kingdom,

France, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States of America.

In A ugust 1983 a d e le g a tio n of s c i e n t i s t s and o f f ic ia l s from th e

A s s o c ia tio n o f South E a s t A sian N a tio n s ' C o m m i t t e e on S c ie n c e and Tech­

nology met P ro fe s s o r S la t y e r and P ro fe s s o r C a r v e r . The d e l e g a t io n , which

c o m p rised of s e n io r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s from e a c h of th e five m e m b e r nations

of ASEAN (Indonesia, M a lay sia, th e P h ilip p in es, S ingapore and Thailand),

held d iscu ssio n s w ith g o v e r n m e n t and o t h e r bodies and v is ite d s c i e n t i f i c

institutions.

The C h a irm a n a t t e n d e d the N a tio n a l Technology C o n f e r e n c e on

26-28 S e p te m b e r and d e liv e r e d a C o n fe r e n c e lu ncheon a d d r e s s e n t i t l e d

'T e chnology, E conom ic G ro w th and P ub lic P o lic y '. Also in S e p te m b e r ,

P ro fe ss o r S la ty e r was th e g u e s t s p e a k e r a t th e N a tio n a l S c ien ce Forum

where he spoke on th e a p p l i c a ti o n of s c ie n c e and technology policy to the

revitalisation of industry and economic growth.

In O c to b e r, P r o f e s s o r S la ty e r a t t e n d e d th e S e v en th I n v ita tio n

Symposium of th e A c a d e m y o f T e c h n o lo g ic a l S c ie n c e s and d e liv e r e d th e

luncheon a d d re s s on th e t h e m e 'O p p o r t u n it i e s and C h a lle n g e s for

Australia's Natural Fibres'.

Activities of Members

M em bers w ere involved in a wide ra n g e of p ro f e s s io n a l and

business m e e tin g s and v is its , and r e p o r t e d to th e C ouncil on m a t t e r s of

interest which had come to their attention during these activities.

P ro fe s s o r T a n n e r a t t e n d e d th e Solar World C ong ress in P e r t h in

August w here r e c e n t d e v e lo p m e n ts in p h o to v o lta ic s were d e s c rib e d . L a t e r

in the same m onth, P r o f e s s o r K o rn e r c h a ire d th e o rg a n is in g c o m m i t t e e for

th e 29th I n t e r n a t i o n a l P h y sio lo g ica l C o n f e r e n c e in Sydney. P ro fe s s o r

Rigby r e p r e s e n t e d th e C ouncil a t th e opening of B iotech n o lo g y P ty L td by

the Hon Barry Jones, the Minister for Science and Technology.

In M arch P ro fe s s o r T an n e r v is ite d th e J a m e s Cook U n iv e rs ity ,

the G r e a t B a rr ie r R e e f M arine P ark A u th o rity and th e A u s tra lia n Institute

of M arine S cien ce on b e h a lf o f th e C h a irm a n . Sir S am uel B urston

r e p r e s e n t e d t h e C ouncil a t a r e s e a r c h forum held on 30th M arch a t th e

Prospect Laboratories of the CSIRO Division of Animal Production.

18

P r o f e s s o r R igby, as C h a irm a n of th e TC C , a d d r e s s e d th e Jubilee

Conference of the Australian College of Education in May 1984.

Visitors to ASTEC

Many v is ito r s to ASTEC have held d iscu ssio n s w ith th e Chairman

a n d / o r m em b e rs of t h e S e c r e t a r i a t . They have in cluded: Mr W. B ailey,

A s s i s t a n t S e c r e t a r y (A d m in is tra tio n ) of t h e New Z e a lan d D e p a r t m e n t of

S c i e n t i f i c and I n d u s t r i a l R e s e a r c h ; Dr Y. F a rg e , D e p u ty P r e s id e n t o f th e

F re n c h Mission S c i e n t i f i q u e e t T e c h n iq u e and P r o f e s s o r R e d o n n e t o f the

F re n c h Em bassy; Mr N. Ohlsson, D i r e c t o r of E s sin g to n Ltd; Drs T u c k e rs

and B ailey o f t h e D avid Syme B usiness School of th e Chisholm Institute of

T echnology; Dr R. S ire v a g , S e c r e t a r y of th e N orw egian C a b in e t R e s e a r c h

B oard and D i r e c t o r - G e n e r a l of th e M inistry o f C u l tu r a l and S c i e n t i f i c

A ff a irs ; Dr J . T ro u g h to n , D e p u ty D i r e c t o r G e n e ra l of th e New Z ea lan d

D e p a r t m e n t o f S c i e n t i f i c and I n d u s t r i a l R e s e a rc h ; Ms A. B re a th n a c k ,

R a p p o r t e u r for th e O E C D 's c u r r e n t re v ie w of A u s t r a l i a 's s c ie n c e and

te c h n o lo g y policy; Dr D. Low, D e p u ty S e c r e t a r y of th e C an a d ia n M inistry

of S ta t e for S c ie n c e and T echnology ; and Dr M H ira i, s p e c ia l t e c h n i c a l

adviser of the National Space Development Agency of Japan.

SECRETARIAT ACTIVITIES

The s e ttin g up o f th e w orking p a r t y for t h e s tu d y on A u s t r a l i a 's

R o le in th e N u c le a r F uel C ycle e n t a i l e d c h a n g es in th e S e c r e t a r i a t . Mr

E ric J a m e s , S e c r e t a r y of th e T e c h n o lo g ic a l C h a n g e C o m m i t t e e , was

a p p o in te d s e c r e t a r y and Dr M artin W ardrop pro v id ed s e c r e t a r i a t support to

t h a t working p a r ty . To m a in ta in S e c r e t a r i a t s u p p o rt for ASTEC's o th e r

a c t i v i t i e s , Mr Ken C r e e c h from t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f S c ien ce and Technology

was seconded to the S ecretariat in D e c e m b e r , and Ms J a n e t R eed from th e

D e p a r t m e n t o f P rim e M inister and C a b i n e t joined th e S e c r e t a r i a t in April

1984. In a d d itio n , t h e n u c l e a r fu e l c y c le w orking p a r ty re c e i v e d

a s s i s t a n c e from t h r e e C o m m o n w e a lth d e p a r t m e n t s which seconded officers

to th e s e c r e t a r i a t . They w ere: Mr R. C rick from th e D e p a r t m e n t of

F o re ig n A f f a i r s , Dr E. D ruce from t h e D e p a r t m e n t of Trade and Dr N.

McDonald from t h e A u s tr a lia n A to m ic Energy C om m ission R e g u la to r y

B ureau. Mr P e t e r Dawe was A c tin g S e c r e t a r y to th e Technological Change

C om m ittee in the interim.

Dr V im ala S a rm a joined th e S e c r e t a r i a t of th e T e c h n o lo g ic a l

C hange C o m m i t t e e in J a n u a r y 1984. She w orked previo u sly as le g i s l a t i v e

r e s e a r c h s p e c ia l is t in th e S c ie n c e , T echnology and th e E n vironm ent Group

in the Parliam entary Library.

The S e c r e t a r y and Dr R y m e r m et Dr Bodo B a rto e h a , Director of

the In ternational P ro g ra m s Division of th e US N a tio n a l S cience F o u n d atio n

in J u ly . In A ugust and S e p te m b e r Dr M iddleton v is ite d various s t a t e

government a g e n c ie s and o rg a n is a tio n s re s p o n sib le for te c h n o lo g y p ro g ra m s

19

and t e c h n o lo g y - b a s e d c o m p a n ie s . Dr M iddleton p a r t i c i p a t e d in a UNESCO

seminar held in September in P aris to re v ie w t h a t o r g a n is a ti o n 's m e th o d for

id e n tify in g s c i e n c e and te c h n o lo g y p r i o r i t i e s . D uring t h a t v is it o v e r s e a s ,

he also s to p p e d a t O t t a w a , London and S toc k h o lm to discu ss g o v e r n m e n t

p ro g ra m s to p ro m o te i n n o v a tiv e in d u s try and to re n e w lin k a g e s w ith

appropriate bodies o f i n t e r e s t to ASTEC. The S e c r e t a r y and Dr H eyde m et

with Mr N eil O hlsson, D i r e c t o r of E ssington L td , to discuss i n v e s t m e n t in

high te c h n o lo g y in O c to b e r . As a m e m b e r of an A u s tr a lia n d e l e g a t io n of

six, th e S e c r e t a r y p a r t i c i p a t e d in a sym posium in Beijing held u n d er th e

b i l a t e r a l s c i e n c e and t e c h n o lo g y a g r e e m e n t w ith C hina to d iscuss p olicy

issues. In A p ril, th e S e c r e t a r y a t t e n d e d a m e e tin g a d d r e s s e d by Mr

N aom iro A m a y a , a f o r m e r Vice M in iste r o f th e J a p a n e s e M in istry of

I n t e r n a t i o n a l T ra d e and In d u s try . Dr M iddleton r e t u r n e d to C h in a in l a t e

April to a t t e n d a r o u n d ta b le m e e tin g in B eijing sp o nsored j o i n tl y by th e

I n t e r n a t i o n a l F e d e r a t i o n o f I n s t i t u t e s of A d v a n ced S tudy and th e C hin ese

State Science and Technology C om m ission to discu ss "G uidelines for S cien ce and T ec h n o lo g y fo r D e v e lo p m e n t" . He also v is ite d Shanghai a t th e

invitation of the Shanghai S c ie n c e and T echnology C om m ission as a fo llo w ­

up to the Australian delegation's visit in December.

The A s s is ta n t S e c r e t a r y , Mr S h o r t t , v is ite d C a n a d a , th e U nited

S ta t e s , th e U n ite d K ingdom , th e F e d e r a l R e p u b lic of G e rm a n y and th e

OECD h e a d q u a r t e r s in P a ris in O c to b e r and N o v e m b e r d uring an o v e r s e a s

stu d y to u r. He i n v e s t i g a t e d issues a s s o c ia te d w ith th e funding of

u n iv e rs ity r e s a r c h . Mr C ric k and Dr D ru c e o f th e n u c le a r fu e l cy c le

s e c r e t a r i a t a c c o m p a n ie d m e m b e rs of t h a t working p a r ty on v is its overseas

in February and March.

M em bers of th e S e c r e t a r i a t a t t e n d e d a n um ber o f c o n f e r e n c e s

during th e y e a r, gave ta lk s a t a v a r ie t y of v enues and w e re involved in

numerous informal discussions and meetings.

20

FINANCIAL REPORT

The fo llo w in g fin a n c ia l s t a t e m e n t shows e s t i m a t e s and a c t u a l

expenditure for the period 1 July 1983 to 30 June 1984.

Estimates Expenditure

$ $

Council Members

Fees* 207,166 185,538

Travel Allowance *t 38,331 44,190

TOTAL 245,497 229,728

S ecretariat

Salaries and overtim e 565,500 529,082

Travel and subsistence 242,500 242,599

Office requisites (including furniture) 104,500 123,464

Postage and telephones 20,000 6,358

Consultants 66,000 28,589

Incidentals 12.000 43,459

TOTAL 1.010,500 973,551

* Includes payments to co-opted working party members.

+ All transport expenses are paid from the Secretariat appropriation.

21

APPENDIX A

ASTEC Reports 1983-1984

The following ASTEC reports were tabled or p re s e n te d to th e P rim e

Minister during the period 1 July 1983 to 30 June 1984.

Report Tabled

Technological Change and Employment (TCC) 25 August 1983

Incentives for Innovation in Australian Industry 25 August 1983

Annual Report 1982-83 20 September 1983

Videotex in Australia (TCC) 20 September 1983

Operation of National Research Granting Schemes 11 October 1983

Guidelines for the Operation of National Research Facilities 6 March 1984

Technology and Handicapped People (TCC) 8 May 1984

Australia's Role in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle 31 May 1984

Australia's Broad Spectrum Bilateral Science and Technology Agreements not yet tabled

22

APPENDIX B

Prime Minister's Tabling S t a t e m e n t on A S T E C 's R e p o r t on A u s t r a l i a 's R ole

in th e Nuclear Fuel Cycle, 31 May 1984

F or th e in f o r m a t i o n o f H o n o u ra b le M em bers I p r e s e n t th e r e p o r t by th e

A u s t r a li a n S c ie n c e and T ec hnology C ou n cil (ASTEC) on A u s t r a l i a 's ro le in

the nuclear fuel cycle.

Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a sta te m e n t in respect of the Report.

Following the G o v e rn m e n t's e x a m i n a ti o n o f policy in r e l a t i o n to th e e x p o r t

o f A u s t r a li a n u ra n iu m l a s t y e a r, I w ro te to t h e C h a irm a n o f ASTEC,

P r o f e s s o r R alp h S la t y e r on 9 N o v e m b e r 1983, r e q u e s t in g t h a t ASTEC

u n d e r t a k e an in q u iry , u n d er his p e r s o n a l d i r e c t io n , in to A u s t r a l i a 's r o le in

the nuclear fuel cycle.

The Inquiry was asked to examine in particular:

. A u s t r a l i a 's n u c le a r s a f e g u a r d s a r r a n g e m e n t s , giving p a r t i c u l a r

a t t e n t i o n to t h e e f f e c t i v e n e s s of th e b i l a t e r a l and m u l t i l a t e r a l

a g r e e m e n t s , and to t h e s c o p e for s t r e n g t h e n i n g th e s e

agreements;

. th e o p p o r t u n i t ie s for A u s t r a l i a th ro u g h th e c o n d itio n s o f its

in v o lv e m e n t in th e n u c l e a r fu e l c y c le to f u r t h e r ad v a n c e th e

c a u se of n u c l e a r n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n , having r e g a rd to th e policies

and practices of recipient countries; and

. th e a d e q u a c y of e x is tin g te c h n o lo g y fo r t h e handling and

disposal of w a s t e p r o d u c ts by c o n su m in g c o u n t r i e s , and th e ways

in which A u s t r a li a can f u r t h e r c o n t r i b u t e t o th e developm ent of

safe disposal methods.

The C ouncil was s u b s e q u e n tly r e q u e s t e d to inclu d e som e c o n s id e r a tio n of

t h e issues r a is e d by t h e possible e x t r a c t i o n of th o riu m fo r n u c le a r use

from Australian mineral sands containing the mineral monazite.

The S la ty e r In q u iry was an i n t e g r a l p a r t of th e G o v e r n m e n t's ura n iu m

policy decisions announced last November.

At th a t time the Government decided that:

(a) th e R oxby Downs J o i n t V e n tu r e rs be advised th at if a commercial

decision to p ro c e e d w ith th e d e v e lo p m e n t of Roxby Downs w ere

to be m ade by th e m , th e G o v e rn m e n t would permit the export of

uranium produced from t h a t m ine; and th e e x p o r t of the u ranium

would be s u b j e c t to w h a te v e r s a f e g u a rd s a r r a n g e m e n ts a p p lied

generally to uranium exports at the time of export;

23

(b) w ith t h e e x c e p t i o n o f R oxby Downs if c o m m e r c i a l l y feasible, the

G o v e rn m e n t n o t p e r m i t th e d e v e lo p m e n t of any new uranium

mines;

(c) all f u t u r e e x p o r ts of A u s t r a l i a 's ura n iu m - under bo th e x is tin g

and any future co n tra cts - be m ade s u b j e c t to th e m o st s t r i n g e n t

supply c o n d itio n s , such c o n d itio n s to be d e t e r m i n e d by the

G o v e rn m e n t fo llo w in g an in q u iry in to A u s t r a l i a 's role in th e

nuclear fuel cycle.

In s e t t i n g up th e Inquiry, th e G o v e rn m e n t c o n s id e r e d it to be i m p o r t a n t

t h a t t h e r e should be an in d e p e n d e n t and o b j e c t i v e au d it of p o lic ie s and

p r a c t i c e s in r e g a r d to A u s t r a l i a 's uranium e x p o r ts to e n s u re t h a t th ey

c o n t r i b u t e to th e s t r e n g t h e n e d A u s t r a li a 's p u rs u it o f its d i s a r m a m e n t and

non-proliferation objectives.

The G o v e rn m e n t also so u g h t a s c i e n t i f i c a s s e s s m e n t of th e a d e q u a c y of

ways in which countries managed and disposed of radioactive waste.

ASTEC, as th e p r e - e m i n e n t C ouncil providing in d e p e n d e n t a d v ic e to th e

Government on s c ie n c e and te c h n o lo g y q u e s tio n s , was judged b e s t - q u a li f ie d

to perform this role under the personal direction of Professor Slatyer.

The t e r m s of r e f e r e n c e for th e Inquiry fo c u sed p rim a rily on th e issues of

n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n , s a f e g u a r d s and w a ste m a n a g e m e n t, both because of their

i n tr in s ic i m p o r t a n c e , and b e c a u s e th e y a r e o f p a r t i c u l a r c o n c e rn in th e

community in relation to Australia's involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.

The final Report r e f l e c t s a broad i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f th e t e r m s o f r e f e r e n c e ,

and p ro v id es a c o m p re h e n s iv e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f th e e l e m e n ts of th e fuel

c y c le and th e issues w hich th e y ra is e for th e e x p o r t of A u s tra lia n

uranium.

The R e p o r t i n d i c a t e s t h a t while th e p e r c e n t a g e of world e l e c t r i c i t y

requirements w hich will be g e n e r a t e d by n u c le a r m ean s c a n n o t be f o r e c a s t

p re c is e ly , no new e n e rg y s o u rc e is likely to have a s i g n i f i c a n t im p a c t for

th e next q u a r t e r c e n tu r y . A ccord in g ly th e R e p o r t n o te s t h a t th e world

can be e x p e c t e d to re ly la r g e ly on coal and n u c le a r en e rg y , supplem en ted

by oil, to pro v id e th e m ajo r p a r t o f i t s e l e c t r i c i t y r e q u ir e m e n t s for this

period.

This would be the case even if Australia were not to export its uranium.

The R e p o rt n o te s t h a t t h e r e is no s h o rta g e of uranium in th e world to

supply fuel to th e n u c le a r pow er in d u stry , and points out t h a t th e f u tu r e

d e v e lo p m e n t o f th e n u c l e a r p ow er in d u s try will not be d e p e n d e n t on

A u s tra lia n u ra n iu m , and will p ro c e e d i r r e s p e c t i v e o f w h e th e r or not

Australia is a supplier.

The R e p o r t s u g g e s ts t h a t if i n t e r n a ti o n a l te n s io n s a r e to be re d u c e d and

the prospects of a peaceful g lo b al e n v iro n m e n t e n h a n c e d , th e i m p o r ta n c e of

n a tio n a l and i n t e r n a t i o n a l e n e rg y s e c u r i ty c a n n o t be o v e re m p h a s is e d , it

n o te s t h a t d is ru p tio n s in th e supply of r e s o u r c e s o f any s o r t have been a

24

c a u s e of i n t e r n a t i o n a l te n s io n and, th ro u g h hum an h is to r y , have led to

war.

The R e p o r t p o in ts o u t t h a t c o u n t r i e s w hich do not have indigenous energy

resources a re m ost c o n c e rn e d to e n s u re r e l i a b i l i t y o f su p p lie s , and to th is

end p la c e g r e a t e m p h a s is on d i v e r s i t y of su pplies and th e political stability

of s u p p lie r c o u n t r i e s . For th is r e a s o n m any c o u n t r i e s have t u rn e d to

n u c l e a r e n e rg y for e l e c t r i c i t y g e n e r a t i o n out of concern about reliability of

oil supplies both in the short and long-term.

The Inqu iry has c o n c lu d e d t h a t A u s t r a l i a , th ro u g h being a r e li a b le ,

l o n g - t e r m su p p lie r of u ra n iu m , is in a p o s itio n to c o n t r i b u t e s ig n if ic a n tly

to international energy security.

F u r t h e r , th e R e p o r t b rings ou t t h a t a s s u ra n c e of r e li a b le lo n g - te r m

supplies of uranium at re asonable p r i c e s will also re d u c e t h e m o tiv a tio n for

in d iv id u a l c o u n t r i e s t o s e e k g r e a t e r e n e r g y s e c u r i ty by c a r r y in g out m ore

s t e p s of th e fu e l c y c le , p a r t i c u l a r l y re p ro c e s s in g , w ithin n a t i o n a l

boundaries.

A g a in s t th is b a c k g ro u n d th e R e p o r t c o n c lu d e s t h a t A u s t r a l i a will b e s t be

able to make a significant c o n trib u tio n to n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n and world p e a c e

if it is actively involved in the nuclear fuel cycle.

By in v o lv e m e n t of th is kind, th e R e p o r t a r g u e s , A u s t r a li a will be a b le to

m ake a d i r e c t c o n t r i b u t i o n to t h e d e v e lo p m e n t of th e civil n u c le a r fuel

c y c le in ways t h a t will i n c re a s e g lo b al e n e rg y s e c u r i t y , s t r e n g t h e n th e

e l e m e n t s of t h e n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n r e g im e and r e d u c e th e risks of misuse of

civil facilities and t h e d iv e rs io n of n u c l e a r m a t e r i a l s from civil to m ilita r y

uses.

W ithout such in v o lv e m e n t, global e n e r g y s e c u r i t y would be less a s s u re d ,

and A u s t r a l i a 's a b i l i ty to s t r e n g t h e n t h e n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n re g im e and to

influence future developments in the fuel cycle would be reduced.

The R e p o r t e x p r e s s e s th e c o n c e rn t h a t we m ust all s h a r e t h a t the

prevention of nuclear war is of the g re a te s t importance to all humanity.

A major component of global e f f o r t s to p r e v e n t such a w ar is p re v e n tio n of

f u r t h e r p r o l i f e r a t i o n of n u c le a r w eapons, e i t h e r by an in c re a s e in the size

of t h e a r s e n a ls of th o s e c o u n tr ie s which a lre a d y have such w eapons,

r e f e r r e d to as v e r t i c a l p r o l i f e r a t i o n , or by an in c r e a s e in th e n u m b er of

c o u n t r i e s w ith such w eapons or w hich have ex ploded n u c le a r d e v ic e s ,

referred to as horizontal proliferation.

The R e p o r t r e c o g n is e s t h a t sin ce n u c le a r fission no t only p rovides pow er

for e l e c t r i c i t y g e n e r a t i o n but also c o n s t i t u t e s t h e explosive s o u rc e of

w e apons, i t is u n d e r s ta n d a b le t h a t t h e r e should be w id esp read p ublic

c o n c e rn about th e d e g r e e to which civil n u c le a r a c t i v i t i e s could contribute

to the development of nuclear weapons.

25

In this regard the Inquiry makes a number of points.

The g r e a t m a j o r i t y o f t h e c o u n tr ie s of th e w orld have found co m p e llin g

re a s o n s fo r n o t building n u c l e a r w eapons and have given a commitment not

to do so by becoming m em bers o f th e N o n - P r o l i f e r a t i o n T r e a ty . They have

also a c c e p t e d s a f e g u a r d s on all th e i r n u c l e a r f a c i l i t i e s so t h a t th e ir

commitment to non-proliferation can be verified.

The R e p o r t p o in ts out t h a t if a d e c isio n is t a k e n by a c o u n try to develop

n u c le a r w eapons th is c a n be ac h ie v e d , p rovided t h a t th e c o u n try has

s u f f i c i e n t d e t e r m i n a t i o n and a re a s o n a b le s c i e n t i f i c and te c h n o l o g i c a l

in fra s tru c tu re . The a b s e n c e o f a civil n u c l e a r in d u s try would no t p re v e n t

such a d e v e lo p m e n t, a lth o u g h th e p ro c e d u re would be m ore d i f f i c u l t and

slower.

But th e R e p o r t s u g g e s ts t h a t , should a c o u n try d e c id e to e m b a r k on a

weapons p r o g r a m , it is u n lik ely to use a civil pow e r r e a c t o r to do so, as

th is would be i n e f f i c i e n t both in t e r m s o f pro d u c in g w eapons usab le

material and in term s of e lec tricity generation.

The R e p o r t co n c lu d e s t h a t th e ta s k for all c o u n t r i e s is to c r e a t e an

international political clim ate in which a c tio n s le a d in g to th e g ro w th of th e

a r s e n a ls of n u c le a r w eapons s t a t e s , and th e e x te n s io n o f a n u c le a r

capability to so-called "threshold" countries, are not taken.

In th is r e g a r d th e R e p o r t fo c u s e s on th e N o n - P r o l i f e r a t i o n T r e a t y , as the

most important m u ltilateral n o n -p r o li f e r a t i o n and arm s c o n tro l a g r e e m e n t in

e x i s t e n c e - a view w hich th is G o v e rn m e n t s tro n g ly s u p p o rts and will

continue to in m u l t i l a t e r a l fo r a , and in our discu ssio n s w ith o t h e r n a tio n s

on non-proliferation and arms control matters.

The R e p o r t m akes a n u m b e r o f re c o m m e n d a tio n s aim ed a t s t r e n g t h e n i n g

adherence to the Treaty.

In p a r t i c u l a r i t n o te s t h a t con tin u ed s u p p o rt by m any c o u n tr ie s will

depend upon t h e f u l f i l m e n t o f th e t h r e e - w a y b a rg a in c o n ta in e d in th e

Treaty.

T hese involve a p le d g e by n o n -n u c le a r w eapon s t a t e s n e i t h e r to

manufacture nor acquire n u c le a r weapons and to a c c e p t v e r i f i c a t i o n o f th is ,

a c o m m i tm e n t by all p a r t i e s to pursue n u c le a r d i s a r m a m e n t, and an

u n d e r ta k in g to provide a c c e s s by m em b ers to n u c le a r ite m s fo r p e a c e f u l

purposes. In th is l a t t e r r e g a r d , th e R e p o r t r e f e r s to th e i m p o r t a n c e of

A r tic le IV of th e T r e a t y , which a f f i r m s th e r ig h t of all c o u n t r i e s to use

n u c le a r e n e rg y for p e a c e f u l purposes. It also re q u ir e s th o s e c o u n t r i e s in

a p o s itio n to do so to c o n t r i b u t e to th e f u r t h e r d e v e lo p m e n t o f n u c le a r

energy in member countries.

At a m ore f u n d a m e n ta l le v e l th e R e p o r t h ighlights the necessity not just of

m a in ta in in g t h e n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n re g im e , bu t o f d e m o n s t r a t i n g t h a t the

obligations contained in the Treaty are being met.

26

In t h i s re g a r d , t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h e f o r th c o m in g 1985 N o n - P r o lif e r a tio n

T r e a t y R eview C o n f e r e n c e is e m p h a s is e d as is th e nee d to r e g i s t e r som e

p o s itiv e a c h ie v e m e n t s in th e field o f d i s a r m a m e n t b e f o re the future of the

Treaty is decided in 1995.

The G o v e rn m e n t has s t r e s s e d on a n u m b e r o f o c c a s io n s and r e a f f i r m s t h e

fundamental importance it a ttac h es to t h e ro le of th e R e v ie w C o n f e r e n c e to

the future of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A m ong th e G o v e r n m e n t 's m ore i m p o r t a n t i n i t i a t i v e s in s u p p o rt of an

e f f e c t i v e n o n - p r o l i f e r a t i o n re g im e has b ee n our bac k in g for a nuclear free

zone in th e S outh P a c i f i c . The r e p o r t s e e s th is as c o n t r i b u t i n g to t h e

i n t e r n a t i o n a l n o n - p r o l i f e r a t i o n r e g im e in a s u b s t a n t i a l re g io n , as well as

re s p o n d in g to t h e f e a r s o f sm all island s t a t e s in th e re g io n about th e

future conservation and use of their major resource, the ocean.

Mr Speaker,

T h e re can be no d o u b t t h a t t h e issues o f d i s a r m a m e n t and

n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n a r e am o n g t h e m o st i m p o r t a n t o f our tim e . It is th e

i n t e r n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i ty 's a b ility to d e a l w ith th e m e f f e c t i v e l y which will

determ ine our future.

It is p a r t i c u l a r l y i m p o r t a n t t h a t we be c l e a r - s i g h t e d in our thinking on the

issues involved.

The R e p o r t n o te s t h a t tw o key a r g u m e n t s h av e b ee n p u t fo rw a rd opposing

Australia's involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.

It h as, fo r e x a m p le , b e e n s u g g e s te d t h a t t h e so lu tio n to th e p roblem s of

n u c le a r p r o l i f e r a t i o n is fo r th e w orld t o forg o th e use of n u c le a r e n e rg y ,

and fo r c o u n t r i e s s uch as A u s t r a li a to t a k e a le a d by w ithholding supply

of uranium.

The R e p o r t r e j e c t s th is s u g g e s tio n , o b s e rv in g t h a t t h e use of n u c le a r

energy is an established f a c t of l i f e , and t h a t A u s t r a l i a 's w ith d ra w a l would

not a f f e c t th e d e c is io n s t h a t c o u n t r i e s have m ade and will make to use

nuclear energy.

A s e c o n d line of a r g u m e n t is t h a t , by supplying ura n iu m to n u c le a r

weapon s t a t e s , A u s t r a l i a m ig h t be f r e e i n g up u ranium fo r use in weapons.

The R e p o r t also r e j e c t s th is a r g u m e n t , d ra w in g a t t e n t i o n to t h e f a c t th a t

th o s e s t a t e s a l r e a d y have a d e q u a t e s u p p lies of ura n iu m and a re not

a s s i s t e d in any way by th e supply o f A u s tra lia n ura n iu m . Put m ore

b lu n tly , th e R e p o r t c o n c lu d e s t h a t d e n ia l o f supply to n u c le a r w eapon

s ta te s would not a ffe c t in any way their weapons programs.

On t h e basis of t h e s e and o t h e r r e l a t e d c o n s id e r a tio n s , th e R e p o r t

c o n c lu d e s t h a t t h e r e a r e m ore p r a c t i c a l measures th at Australia can take to

a s s is t th e c a u se of n o n - p r o li f e r a t i o n th a n by w ith h o ld in g th e supply ol

u ra n iu m . P rin c ip a lly t h e s e go to th e s t r e n g t h e n i n g of th e e x is tin g

n o n-proliferation re g im e ; p ro p o sa ls m ade by th e R e p o r t in th is re g a rd will

be addressed by the Government in the near future.

27

The R e p o r t also th o ro u g h ly c o n sid ers th e issu es involved in w a ste

management and disposal.

It judges i t to be a b s o l u t e l y n e c e s s a r y fo r c o u n tr ie s t o ad o p t high

s ta n d a r d s and to e n s u r e t h a t th e b e s t p r a c t i c a b l e w a ste d isposal

technology is employed.

The R e p o r t a d v o c a t e s an a p p r o a c h which in volves c o n ta in in g and is o la tin g

the source of radioactivity as far as possible.

The m ost e f f e c t i v e way to put such an a p p r o a c h into practice is seen to be

the c o n f in e m e n t of t h e r a d io a c t i v e w a ste s in a s t a b l e w a s te fo rm , and to

isolate the waste form from the environment by additional barriers.

Proven methods are identified fo r handling w a s te w ith low and i n t e r m e d i a t e

le v e ls o f r a d i o a c t i v i t y . The R e p o r t, h o w e v e r, e x p r e s s e s r e s e r v a t i o n s

about th e dum ping o f r a d io a c t i v e w a ste in t h e o c e a n s , n o tin g t h a t , while

this m ay be a s a f e p r o c e d u r e , much f u r t h e r work re m a in s to be done

b e fo re any fin al j u d g e m e n t c a n be m ade. In t h e m e a n tim e , th e R e p o rt

urges A u s t r a li a n s u p p o rt for a c o n tin u a tio n o f t h e p r e s e n t m o ra to riu m on

ocean dumping.

For high le v e l w a s te , th e R e p o r t n o te s t h a t i n v e s t i g a t i o n s in progress, the

level of technical knowledge a t t a i n e d , and t h e p ro g re s s of p ro g ra m s of s ite

in v e s t i g a t i o n provide c o n f id e n c e t h a t s a f e d isposal of high level waste can

be undertaken.

The r e s u lt s o f t h e o r e t i c a l a s s e s s m e n ts of g e o lo g ic a l r e p o s it o r i e s provide

additional confidence t h a t s a f e disposal o f a p p r o p r i a t e l y p a c k a g e d w a ste is

possible using e x is tin g te c h n o lo g y , pro v id ed t h a t the b e s t p r a c t i c a b l e

technology is used at e a c h s t a g e and t h a t an o p tim u m g e o lo g ic a l re p o s ito r y

is used.

U nder th e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s , th e R e p o r t c o n s id e rs t h a t any r e t u r n of

r a d i o a c t i v i t y to th e b io s p h e re can be held to s a f e and a c c e p t a b l e lev els

over long p e rio d s (up to one m illion yea rs) so t h a t m axim um doses to the

most ex p o se d in d ividuals would be a sm all f r a c t i o n of n a t u r a l background

levels.

It c o n s id e rs , m o re o v e r, t h a t th e te c h n o lo g y r e q u ir e d to a c h ie v e th e s e

objectives is available.

The R e p o r t n o te s th e c o n tr ib u tio n which A u s t r a li a can m ake to r e s e a r c h

and d e v e lo p m e n t in t h e a r e a of w a ste d isposal and re c o m m e n d s co n tin u e d

in v o lv e m e n t in this i m p o r t a n t work. A t t e n t i o n is drawn particularly to the

potential significance o f th e A u s tra lia n - d e v e lo p e d w a s te form Synroc and it

is re c o m m e n d e d t h a t work on Synroc be c o n tin u e d . If th e p ro m ise which

Synroc a p p e a r s to hold is d e m o n s t r a t e d by f u r t h e r r e s e a r c h , th e R e p o rt

concludes th at its adoption by other countries should be pursued.

28

A t th is s t a g e I should lik e to th a n k P r o f e s s o r S la ty e r , t h e members of the

Inq u iry and ASTEC s t a f f for t h e p ro d u c tio n of a c o m p re h e n s iv e ,

th o ro u g h ly p ro f e s s io n a l R e p o r t. It should bec o m e t h e s t a n d a r d t e c h n i c a l

reference for th o s e s e e k in g an u n d e r s ta n d in g of th e issues involved in th is

c o m p le x and c r i t i c a l l y i m p o r t a n t s u b j e c t , on which a r a n g e of views a re

held within the Australian community and indeed within the Labor Party.

My ju d g m e n t and in d eed my hope would be t h a t it will further enhance the

more ra tio n a l and r e a s o n e d discu ssio n o f n u c l e a r issu es which has e m e r g e d

in recen t months.

The G o v e rn m e n t will give c a r e f u l c o n s i d e r a t i o n to th e ASTEC

R e c o m m e n d a ti o n s , and as d ec is io n s a r e m ad e, M in iste rs will advise th e

Parliament.

I commend the report to the House.

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APPENDIX C

The following comments on a proposal to establish a Centenary

Institution of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology in Sydney were prepared by an ASTEC working party. They were later endorsed by ASTEC.

PROPOSAL FOR A

CENTENARY INSTITUTE OF CANCER MEDICINE

AND CELL BIOLOGY

Introduction

During 1981 the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sydney and members of the sta ff of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital discussed the possible establishment of an Institute of Medical Research to commemorate the centenary of the Hospital (1982) and the Medical School (1983). The suggestion gained

momentum, and developed into the current proposal for a new, large medical

research institute specialising in cancer medicine and cell biology.

Professor Ward, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University, placed the m a tte r before the University Senate for approval. Full support for the project was given and a com m itm ent made to provide a site on the campus adjacent to the Hospital and the Medical School. The Board of the Hospital also approved the project in principle.

The State government also gave its support, the New South Wales

Minister for Health pointing out th a t although th ere were currently many excellent research units in the State, none was large enough to warrant Commonwealth block funding such as that given to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the Howard

Florey Institute in Melbourne. He commented th a t a major research centre such as the one planned would provide a catalyst for excellence by a ttra c tin g the most

talented people and th a t the proposal would give New South Wales a research centre of national and international stature.

In a submission in June 1983, Professor Ward, as Chairman of the newly formed Institute C om m ittee, sought funds from the New South Wales and

Commonwealth governments for a feasibility study of the proposal to establish a Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology. Both governments agreed to the proposal and shared equally in providing funds of $400,000.

The feasibility study has now been completed, and has been examined in detail by ASTEC's Centenary Institute Working Party. Two members of the working party visited the University in August last year and held discussions with the leaders of the three research groups which would form the nucleus of the Institute. Two

members visited the University again on 24 February to discuss, with members of the Institute Com mittee, the detailed proposal presented in the feasibility report.

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It is likely th a t the proposal to establish the Institute, and a request to the

Commonwealth Government for $18.5 million over four years, will be included in the 1984-85 Budget requests of the Minister for Health.

The comments and recommendations of ASTEC's Centenary Institute Working Party are provided below for use by the 1984-85 Budget Working Party.

The Proposal

In brief, the current proposal envisages:

• construction of a substantial building in the grounds of the University,

and adjacent to the Hospital, to house the new Institute - construction costs shared equally by Commonwealth and New South Wales govern­ ments.

• establishment of a Centenary Institute, based on a nucleus of existing

research groups but with a large increase in sta ff members - substantial operating funds provided by the Commonwealth.

Two options are mentioned in the feasibility study, but only one (the larger

institute) is described in detail and recommended.

The feasibility study states:

"The case for the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology rests on a series of critical points:

• Cancer mortality has been steadily worsening and can be expected to

take an increasing proportion of Australian lives to and beyond the end of the century.

• Medical research and the development of effective disease management in cancer and other cell disorders increasingly needs a high degree of interaction and co-ordination between scientists and clinicians.

• There is no institute in Australia which has the central theme of cancer

medicine and cell biology on the scale which is proposed.

• The nucleus for an institute of medical research of international standing exists and has proved its excellence. This nucleus will serve as the

foundation for research in the developing fields of cell biology.

• To exploit the new research technologies which have only just become

available and which are particularly relevant to the proposed research theme, the effective use of scarce resources demands the co-ordination and leadership which an institute under a Director of international

standing will provide".

It will be fundamental to the future life of the Institute for its scientific work to be supported strongly by clinical links with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and for very close relationships with the academic, research and teaching work of the University".

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There already exists a number of groups within Sydney University and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital which are identified as forming the nucleus of the Centenary Institute. The starting point for the Institute will be the integration of the appropriate research activities of:

• the Neurobiology Research Centre ) Research Centres of

the Clinical Immunology Research Centre ) Concentration at the ) University

• The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Sydney Branch

Several smaller units would also be incorporated into the Institute, including the Melanoma Unit of the University of Sydney Department of Surgery, and the KMI Research Laboratories at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

The research staff of these groups currently total about 100. The two options

proposed for the Institute in the feasibility study are -Staff Capital Cost Annual Operating

Cost

Option 1 230 sta ff $36.9 million $7.1 million

Option 2 115 Staff not provided $3.9 million

The Institute would probably be incorporated under an Act of the New South Wales Government and have a Board of Governors, which in turn would be able to invite persons whom it considered would promote the objectives of the Institute to become Members. The Board of Governors would consist of:

Eight representative Governors appointed by -The University of Sydney

The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

The New South Wales Government

The Commonwealth Government

The Vice-Chancellor and the Dean of the Faculty

of Medicine or their nominees.

The Chairman and the General Superintendent or their nom­ inees.

The Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Department of Health and one other nominated by the Minister.

The Secretary of the NH- &MRC, The Chairman of the Medical Research Advisory Committee of the NH&MRC.

Four Governors appointed from amongst the Members.

The Director, ex officio.

There would also be a Development Council to oversee fund raising activities as well as a Scientific Advisory Com mittee. The Institute would be headed by a

Director (who will also be Chief Executive Officer), assisted by a Deputy Director, and the Head of each of the 5-10 research units.

Com ments by ASTEC's C entenary Institute Working Party

1. General Concepts

The working party agrees with the general concepts inherent in the

C entenary Institute proposal. The arguments for fostering medical research in this country were set out in ASTEC's 1981 report 'Medical R esearch in Australia'. The same report also commented on the fragm entation of effort in medical research and recommended th at steps to be taken to encourage the formation of centres of

research.

However, although the working party supports the general concept of 'research concentration', it is not clear, under the current proposal, that it will

yield great benefits in the case of the proposed Insititute. The three main groups

which will form the nucleus of the Institute have very different research interests and orientation, and in the case of two of them the relationship to cancer medicine is somewhat marginal. The Neurobiology Research Centre undertakes fundamental research into the mechanisms which control nerve growth and connections between

organs and the nervous system; it has very little clinical orientation. The Clinical Immunology R esearch C entre is interested in basic mechanisms of cell biology and in applying this information to studies of immune and allergic disorders. The Sydney Branch of the Ludwig Institute has a strong clinical orientation and is concerned

primarily with research into the chemotherapy of cancers.

The current proposal for the Institute is lacking any clear indication of the directions of future research because there is no Director or other person able to give the program some cohesion. The working party recognises th at the Institute C om m ittee will probably not be able to a t t r a c t the right person for this post until

there is a t least a firm commitment to construction of the physical facilities, but

nevertheless finds it difficult to see how the three groups could interact sufficiently closely and relate to the field of research program in cancer medicine, although they do share a broad concern with different aspects of cell biology. The coming together of these groups in a new building will assist their research programs, but

the cost is large and their existing facilities are reasonable. There might be some minor benefit arising from g reater sharing of facilities, but the existing re la t­

ionships between them appear to be such as to promote effective colloboration All three leaders of these research groups stated th at they did not envisage a large

expansion of their research sta ff if the Institute was established; the proposal makes it clear that new s ta ff will be appointed, in the main, to new research groups.

The working party also supports the general concept of promoting

medical research centres outside of the existing Melbourne concentration. Never­ theless, it is difficult to quantify the benefit to the nation of doing this. Both New South Wales in general, and the University of Sydney in particular, stand to benefit from the proposal, but while the State government would provide a substantial

contribution to the costs, the University would contribute only the site. No attem p t has been made to calculate the net value of the site (which is severely limited in

its possible uses) nor the benefit to the University of the space released if existing research groups move to a new building. The working party would like to see a

more tangible financial commitment by the University, in either capital or recurrent

33

funds.

2. Scientific Aspects

The working party considers th a t the three research groups which would form the nucleus of the Institute have dem onstrated the scientific excellence of their research. Teams from the Neurobiology and Clinical Immunology groups have been designated 'R esearch Centres of Excellence' by the Tertiary Education

Commission, and the Sydney Branch of the Ludwig Institute was reviewed in depth by a scientific panel in 1982 which recommended a further period of funding for 5 years (this is the normal procedure for Ludwig branches). The two smaller groups proposed to join the Centenary Institute are considered to have not yet reached the same quality of research.

In the absence of a Director for the Institute, the working party is not

confident th a t the research programs will be sufficiently cohesive to ensure the scientific success of the proposal. The re cent NH & MRC guidelines for the

provision of block grants to medical research institutes emphasise the need for a consistent record of a ttra c tin g sizeable program and project grant allocations, and for interrelated research programs under the leadership of a distinguished scientist forming a functional entity; these criteria are not met by the existing Centenary Institute proposal.

In the recommended option 1, about 130 new sta ff would be taken on, and entirely new programs of research in basic cancer biology would be developed. It is not possible to forecast the likely scientific m erit of either the s ta ff or the

programs since the scientific objectives of the Institute can be determined in detail only a fte r a Director has been appointed. The Commonwealth Government is

therefore, under Option 1, being asked to provide a substantial sum of money for an as yet untried Institute. The alternative of a gradual building up of existing

groups and the establishment of one or two additional units, to a stage where the scientific quality of the majority of the Institute's s ta ff and programs could be

assessed with some confidence, is not canvassed in the feasibility study.

The working party recognises the difficulties faced by the University in developing the proposal, but is concerned th a t the feasibility study places emphasis on bricks and mortar and administrative arrangements, while giving insufficient attention to whether the proposal will in fact achieve its scientific objectives of

quality and relevance.

3. Administrative Aspects

The working party is also concerned that certain administrative

arrangements proposed for the Institute do not sit comfortably with the concept of a truly independent research institute.

Incorporation of the Institute under an Act of the State government

would give the New South Wales Minister for Health considerable power over the Board of Governors and through it over the Institute itself. R ecent events in

several Sydney hospitals suggest that this power would be exercised.

The working party considers th at the Board of the Institute, as currently proposed, could function as an interim group. However, it is im portant th at the

final Board does not have executive officers from either the University or the

Hospital as its chairman. In addition to the 'representative' members of the final

34

Board, there should be a larger number of Members appointed for their personal qualities and expert knowledge.

4. Expenditure Estimates

The working party has not attem p ted to assess the accuracy of the

estim ates of cost of the proposed Institute building, although it is perhaps worth pointing out that these have been based on costings used for construction of the new Walter and Eliza Hall Institute building in Melbourne. This procedure no doubt reflects the short time available in which to complete the feasibility study, but

some independent verification of those estim ates, especially of the floor space required per researcher and its cost, would have been valuable.

The working party is more concerned th at there is no costing of a range of options. Option 1, the only one fully costed, envisages a s ta rt on constructing

the full 11-storey building, then appointment of a Director and the gradual

appointment of staff; it recognises th a t the full sta ff complement may not have

been appointed by the time the building is ready for occupation.

When questioned on this failure to cost alternative means of progressing the proposal, the Institute Committee said they were confident of Option 1 being approved. In addition, it was stated th a t the constraints of the proposed site made it imperative th at the plant room for the Institute be located on the top floor to

allow access; this then made it im practical to propose a smaller building of say six or seven floor only, with provision for later expansion to the full 11 stories.

The working party does not accept either assertion, and believes th a t the option of constructing a smaller building to house an Institute of about 120 s ta ff (to allow for some appointments by the Director), with provision for future expansion upwards, should be examined in detail before any decision is made.

The working party also has some difficulties with the proposed sources of income for the new Institute. The feasibility study report proposes, for Option 1, an annual income of $7.5 million, including $5.5 million in the form of grants. The l a tte r amount would include $2.5 million from the Ludwig Institute to support

its Sydney Branch, but most of the remaining $3 million would be various

Commonwealth Government grants; this would be approximately 10 times the current level of grant received by the existing groups, a ra ther optimistic level of increase. It would take several years for the new Institute to demonstrate its

scientific stature and seek an NH&MRC Institute Grant.

5. Other Issues

There are two further issues which the Budget Working Party should be aw are of, although they lie outside the normal science and technology purview. One is the precedent which Commonwealth Government acceptance of this proposal would be seen to imply; further requests for similar funding for new medical

research institutes would be certain to flow (a proposal for a new institute in

Queensland is already being advanced). The other m a tte r is the political

acceptability of the proposal, in a likely election year for both Commonwealth and New South Wales parliaments.

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RECOMMENDATION

Based on an examination of the science and technology aspects of the proposal, the working party recommends:

(i) That ASTEC give support-in-principle to the concept of a Centenary

Institute of Cancer Medicine to be developed by a gradual build-up of existing and new research groups following appointment of a Director, and with initial development funds provided by the New South Wales Government and the University;

(ii) That ASTEC recommend a detailed examination be made by the

University and its Institute Committee of the feasibility of constructing a building sufficient to house the smaller 'Option 2' institute described in the feasibility report, with provision for future expansion; and

(iii) That ASTEC not support the current proposal for a Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology.

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