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Tuesday, 16 February 1971


On 15th October 1.970 Senator Laucke asked me a question without notice on the subject of the professional qualification requirement of the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act. 1 undertook to have the question referred to the Minister for Trade and Industry. The Minister for Trade and Industry has now supplied me with the following answer:

Under the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act the Government provides Australian manufacturing and mining companies with an incentive to spend more on research and development. Grant-, are paid in relation to an increase in a company's own expenditure in circumstances where the Australian Industrial Research and Development Grants Board, which administers the scheme, is satisfied that the company has met all the Act's requirements.

The main purpose of the Act i.s lo stimulate an increase in the overall level of industrial research and development performed by Australian industrial companies.

While acknowledging Am on occasions worthwhile research can be carried out by nonprofessional teams, the Government was conscious of the need to ensure that the funds available for grants were used in the mo-;t productive manner.

The Act therefore aimed, by a few simple rules, to ensure that the work assisted could be generally expected to be of a high standard. The Act requires that lo be eligible for assistance the industrial research and development must be undertaken on a full-time basis and by. or under the supervision of, a professionally qualified person.

The company referred to by the honourable senator did apply to the Board for a grant. On a preliminary examination of the company's application it was found that the company did not meet the Act's requirements relating to professional qualifications and was therefore ineligible for a grant. Consequently, there was no need for the application to be subjected to full investigation by the Board to determine whether or not the professional qualification requirement was the only ground on which the company was ineligible for a grant.

The operation of the Act is now under review to determine the. future form and extent of the Government's assistance to industry in this field. All the points of concern about the provisions of the Act which have been drawn to the Government's attention will be fully considered in this review.

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