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Remedial maths for Labor.

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Remedial maths for Labor

11 October 2006

The Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, today welcomed new statistics which highlight that Australia’s investment in research and development (R&D) has reached record highs.

The statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that our gross domestic expenditure on R&D in 2004-05 was at an all-time high of $15.8 billion, $2.6 billion higher than the previous survey in 2002-03. Australia’s R&D intensity also rose to a new record

level of 1.76% in 2004-05, from 1.69% in 2002-03.

Labor Party claims of a “crash” in funding reveals a need for them to undertake remedial maths.

The Opposition is confusing Commonwealth funding for R&D with R&D expenditure by Commonwealth Government research agencies, and overlooked over $4 billion in funding.

According to figures released by the ABS today:

z Commonwealth funding for R&D reached an all time high of

$5.6 billion in 2004-05. z Commonwealth funding for R&D increased from $3.4 billion in

1996-97 to $5.6 billion in 2004-05, an increase of 68.0% at current prices over the period. z With the effect of changes in prices and wages and salaries

removed, this represents an increase of 31.2% in real terms over the same period (estimated by DEST based on Chain Volume Measures).

R&D expenditure by Government research agencies (GOVERD), including Commonwealth and State Government research agencies, was $2.5 billion in 2004-05, a 23.6% increase since 1996-97.

“The Australian Government has made a strong commitment to

ensure the nation’s future prosperity through its unprecedented investment in R&D, in particular through the $8.3 billion provided through the ten year Backing Australia’s Ability (BAA) package,” Minister Bishop said.

“The ABS data reflects the positive impact of the fourth full year of this package’s implementation, and its effect on lifting Australia’s R&D performance.”

“I am delighted to report that Australia’s investment in R&D has recorded one of the highest growth rates among OECD countries in recent years. Between 2000 and 2004, we averaged an annual growth

rate of 7.8% in real terms, well above the growth rate of 2.4% for the OECD area.”

All Australian sectors performing research - business, government, universities, and private non-profit - recorded increases in their R&D spending:

z Australian businesses spent $8,446.2 million in 2004-05, the

highest level to date, and the sixth successive year of increase, with a growth rate being one of the highest in OECD countries over recent years; z The Government sector has been steadily increasing, with the

total spending accounting for around 0.29% of GDP in Australia; z Higher education expenditure reached $4,283 million in 2004,

an increase of 24.9% over 2002 - the highest level ever recorded for Australia. This expenditure as a proportion of GDP rose to 0.48% in 2004 from 0.44% in 2002;and z Expenditure in the small Private Non-profit sector (mainly

medical research institutes) was $493.2 million in 2004-05, representing a significant increase of 37.2% over the two years since 2002-03.

Media Contacts: Minister Bishop’s Office: Tory Vidler 0414 228 727

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