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Tuesday, 24 September 2002
Page: 4730

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (3:03 PM) —On 23 September Senator Stott Despoja asked me, as the Minister representing the Minister for Science, a question regarding Mr McGauran's comments at the FASTS policy launch concerning future funding arrangements for Backing Australia's Ability. I undertook to provide additional information. I understand Senator Stott Despoja did not attend the FASTS policy launch in Parliament House. If she had, she would have heard the comments made by Mr McGauran when he made it clear that the government has no intention other than to fully implement Backing Australia's Ability as originally announced. As a matter of course and in keeping with good program management practices, all government programs are subject to monitoring and evaluation to ensure they are as effective as possible, represent good value for the Australian taxpayer and continue to meet government aims. Mr McGauran referred to the culling of any duplication or onerous reporting requirements for applicants and recipients of program funding within Backing Australia's Ability—an eminently sensible comment. This government is committed to Australia's science and scientists and intends to allow them to spend the majority of their valuable time conducting research, not filling in paperwork.