MEDIA RELEASE - PLIBERSEK & CARR - GOVERNMENT’S OWN REPORT ON UNI RESEARCH SHOWS FOLLY OF RESEARCH CUTS - WEDNESDAY, 27 MARCH 2019

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 
SENATOR THE HON KIM CARR
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INNOVATION, INDUSTRY, SCIENCE AND RESEARCH 
SENATOR FOR VICTORIA
 
GOVERNMENT’S OWN REPORT ON UNI RESEARCH SHOWS FOLLY OF RESEARCH CUTS

The release of today’s report on how highly Australian university research ranks compared to the rest of the world demonstrates the folly of the government’s own continuing cuts to research, science and innovation.
 
The Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) 2018 report shows that Australian university research ranks highly compared to the rest of the world.  In every report since 2010 Australian universities have consistently improved their performance when ranked against our international competitors delivering more research, and higher quality research.
 
ERA, a Labor initiative, has been a success in driving a focus within Australian universities on excellence and gives the community confidence that taxpayers investment in research is money well spent.
 
Australia’s research enterprise, while remaining strong, remains unsupported by a government that does not get research, nor understand its contribution to national economic progress and wellbeing.
 
The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Liberal government has – in every budget since 2014 – attacked or cut back science and research funding.  Whether it’s the cuts in the 2014 budget that threatened to sack 1500 scientists at national research facilities.  Or the jobs lost at the CSIRO in 2016, or the swinging $328 million of cuts to university research in last December’s MYEFO.
 
The Liberals’ are damaging Australia’s capacity to make exciting new discoveries, and create the industries of the future.
 
The Science, Research and Innovation budget tables, released in October, showed the Liberals have reduced spending on science, research and innovation by $1.1 billion in real terms — a cut of 10 per cent over the past five years.
 
The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government talks a big book on science and research, but the facts are very different. Bill Shorten has declared that if Labor wins the federal election, which must be held within the next six months, we will end the Coalition’s war on science and research.
 
If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will:
 

  • Establish, for the first time in 20 years, a once in a generation, root-and-branch inquiry into strengthening our research capabilities across the whole of government.
  • Develop a charter with the Australian science and research community to establish the reciprocal roles, responsibilities and expectations of government and researchers.
  • Set a target to lift Australian spending on Research and Development from 1.8 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent and restore our international competitiveness; and
  • Restore the integrity of the Australian Research Council, by ending political interference in the grants process and  legislating a requirement that Ministers must table an explanation in Parliament within 15 sitting days of rejecting any recommendation of funding by the Chief Executive Office

Labor understands that universities, science and research are fundamental to Australia’s future.

WEDNESDAY, 27 MARCH 2019