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Budget 2004: Record Budget funding for research agencies.

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PETER McGAURAN MP Commonwealth Minister for Science

Media Release


11 May 2004 MINBUD 24/04

The Australian Government’s continuing commitment to research and innovation is reflected in record levels of funding to the three Education, Science and Training portfolio research agencies.

The 2004-05 Budget confirms funding over the 2004-05 to 2006-07 triennium for all three agencies - the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

"The Budget delivers the largest increase in funding for CSIRO for decades, confirming the Government’s commitment to the organisation and its major new strategic initiative, the National Research Flagships, launched by the Prime Minister in April 2003," Australian Government Science Minister, Peter McGauran, said today.

"$305 million over the next seven years has been allocated to the Flagships initiative as part of Building our Future through Science and Innovation. This initiative is one of the largest targeted scientific research programmes in Australia's history and will deliver social, economic and environmental benefits on a national scale."

Overall, Australian Government funding to CSIRO will amount to $1.8 billion over the 2004-05 to 2006-07 triennium, a massive 15% increase in funding compared with CSIRO’s last triennium funding agreement for 2000-01 to 2002-03.

On top of new triennium funding of $330.5 million, in the 2004-05 Budget, ANSTO will receive additional funding of $11.4 million over the triennium for operating the Replacement Research Reactor (RRR) and assist in securing radioactive sources in the Asia-Pacific region. ANSTO will also receive capital funding of $26.2 million for additional costs arising from construction of the RRR. Including funding for spent

fuel disposal of $8 million, this takes ANSTO’s total funding over the triennium to $413.1 million, with $63.2 million of this in capital funding.

"Apart from unforeseeable cost increases caused by the geological anomaly and the additional regulatory requirements, the RRR project has proceeded closely in line with its original budgeted cost of $286 million in 1997 dollars," Mr McGauran said.

"ANSTO can now employ additional scientific staff to exploit the greatly increased neutron beam line capacity of the RRR. This means those scientists from universities and industry conducting research using the RRR can be confident that the benefits of this world class research facility will be fully realised."

The 2004-05 Budget confirms an increase in AIMS funding to $68.8 million for the 2004-05 to 2006-07 triennium. This will provide the Institute with a firm foundation for implementing its 2003 to 2006 Research Plan and the AIMS@JCU joint venture with James Cook University, which will further strengthen Townsville as a centre of excellence in tropical maritime science.

"Overall funding for CSIRO, ANSTO and AIMS over the period 2004-05 to 2006-07 will amount to $2.3 billion, a level of commitment that confirms the Government’s support for these research agencies and the central role they play in Australia’s science and innovation system," Mr McGauran concluded.

Media Contact: Mr McGauran’s Office: Jodie Naismith 0419 622 915