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Budget 2004: Govt deserts R&D: public investment down, private investment down.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science & Research 12/05/04

Govt deserts R&D

Public investment down, Private investment down 2004 has turned out to be a shocker for research and development. The Howard Government is interested in the next three months, not the next three years and beyond. The Budget Papers reveal that: Australian Industry has been dudded by this Government, with a measly election year funding increase, and declines every year after that. The much touted pre-seed fund has been cut, stretching its existing allocation across the years to 2010/11, when it hits a low of $3.6 million. Labor fears this short-sighted cut will force Australian ideas offshore, and exacerbate the brain drain. There no good news for Australian manufacturing, which the budget papers concede is suffering under the weight of a strengthening dollar The Howard Government has once again failed to fix the R&D Tax Concession, the key mechanism for boosting private sector investment in R&D. This leaves the nation falling further and further behind our OECD competitors. The Cooperative Research Centres lose to the tune of $200 million over the next 7 years (assuming inflation at 2%) - down from $202 million now, to $151 million in 2010/11. The Community is already feeling the brunt of these cuts, with the termination of critical barrier reef, ra inforest, photonics and other research centres. The CSIRO Flagship program has received a boost, but this has come at the expense of the rest of the organisation, and the CRC’s. Also the CSIRO Flagships money goes to fund a tiny minority of the organisations activities, it has conditions attached and some must be spent

outside CSIRO. Base funding for the rest of CSIRO is going backwards, with

below CPI indexation only, which will fall far short of paying for increasing rent, materials and salaries.

University competitive research grant funding is declining. Funding for university research infrastructure takes a cut of $24 million in 2006 - after that it stagnates.

This budget is another lost opportunity, to improve productivity upon which our future re sts.

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