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BAAII: further tests for Howard Government's research package.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science & Research 20/04/04

BAAII: Further Tests for Howard Government’s Research Package

With the imminent release of the Howard Government’s Backing Australia’s Ability II, Labor calls for a radical overhaul of research funding. It must be a balanced package to better meet our social and economic needs.

The Government is running too many programs which are too complex. Consolidation of programs is critical to put an end to the disgraceful waste of taxpayer’s money.

The $540 million Research Training Scheme is deeply flawed. Tinkering around the edges will not clean up the mess. Australia needs a new program for research students in outer-metropolitan and regional universities, who

have been left behind by the Howard Government.

Labor fears that the Government will ignore the recommendations of $3.5 million worth of research reviews they commissioned. The three most recent reviews, launched by Education Minister Brendan Nelson last month, cost

$873,000, that’s an average of $4040 per page.

Labor also fears John Howard is set to, once again, ignore researchers and industry and devalue public research and public research institutions, all courtesy of the public purse. The Howard Government has a political agenda for research, which was determined well before the reviews were commissioned.

BAAII must be about reducing Australia’s knowledge deficit - boosting public expenditure on research. The package must stimulate private sector research and collaborations between the private sector and public sector.

We must build Australia’s research capacity as we cannot allow Australia to become a parasite living off the international research chain. We cannot continue to rely on other country’s research investments - we have to create our own knowledge, and not just adapt the research of other nations.

There are serious structural weaknesses in our economy, such as the underinvestment in research and flailing exports. BAAII must be about driving future productivity through serious economic reform.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson, 0410 522 262. Electorate Office: 62 Lygon St CARLTON SOUTH 3053 Ph: 03 9639 2798 Fax: 03 9639 3109

Canberra Office: Parliament house CANBERRA ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3730 Fax: 02 6277 5911 Email: Toll Free Number: 1800 673 169

Catriona Jackson Senator Kim Carr Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science and Research Suite S131, Parliament House, ACT 2600 02 6277 3730, 0410 522 262