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Scientists say GDP growth not sustainable while R&D goes backward.



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FASTS is the peak representative body of Australia's 60,000 scientists and technologists

FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIAN SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETIES

Science and Technology for the Social, Environmental and Economic Benefit of Australia

Scientists say GDP growth not sustainable while R&D goes Backward

Australia’s strong GDP growth is not sustainable while Australia’s national investment in R&D continues to decline as a percentage of GDP.

The President of FASTS, Professor Snow Barlow said Australia cannot expect to maintain GDP growth of 4% per annum while national investment in science and R&D lags the developed world.

“Where is future growth going to come from apart from new knowledge and R&D?”

“Governments cannot simply rely on record consumer spending to underpin GDP growth”.

“Government investment in R&D is projected to fall to 0.62% of GDP in 2004/05 - down from 0.66% in 2002-03.

“Investment in R&D spend as a % of GDP is an important indicator. It tells us a lot about how much of today’s economic activity we are prepared to invest for our future and our children’s future.

“Government’s in Europe, US, Canada and the United Kingdom are all pressing for increased public and private sector investment in R&D”.

“They understand economic growth in the global economy is increasingly dependent on the quality and capacity of the science and technology knowledge base. But Australia’s investment in science and R&D as a percentage of GDP is well below the OECD average and the gap is widening.

“The Coalition and Labor must offer the electorate credible policies that prioritise building our national investment in R&D,

“Simply maintaining a ‘steady-as-it-goes’ approach will result in Australia going backwards in a highly competitive global knowledge economy”, concluded Professor Barlow.

Media Inquiries: Bradley Smith (0408) 511 261

2 September 2004 MEDIA RELEASE 011/04

FASTS is the peak representative body of Australia's 60,000 scientists and technologists