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Howard's failure: Australia still slipping behind in R&D.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science & Research 13 September 2004

HOWARD’S FAILURE - Australia still slipping behind in R&D

Labor welcomes the slight increase in investment in R&D shown in today’s Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) figures released by the ABS. However as a nation we are still slipping behind competitors, and rank 13th out of 19 nations.

The ABS report itself made the situation clear:

“Australia’s GERD/GDP ratio is low compared with other OECD countries. Australia is ranked below countries such as Finland, Japan, United States of America, Germany and France.”

A total of 13 competing nations rank higher than Australia and the trend indicates that they are increasing their investment faster than we are. The gap is widening.

Australian will require an additional $5 billion in investment from the public and private sectors if we are to catch up.

This is not good enough. Australia cannot continue to slip behind our international competitors.

The latest available OECD figures, from 2 years ago, indicate that 2.26 per cent of GDP was the average investment for our competitors. At 1.62 per cent of GDP, Australia is a long way behind best practice. Northern Europe and Japan are now doubling Australia’s R&D investment performance.

In a modern economy R&D is a major driver of productivity, economic and social prosperity and job creation.

Labor has set a target of reaching OECD average investment levels by 2015.

We call on the Howard Government to get serious about R&D and match Labor’s pledge.

If the inaction continues future generations will pay for our neglect.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson, 0417 142 238. 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