House debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Questions without Notice


2:49 pm

Photo of Jane PrenticeJane Prentice (Ryan, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question's to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister please update the House on how a stronger economy enables the government to support science and technology industries? And, Minister, how would a weaker economy, through higher taxes, put this investment at risk?

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Ryan for her question. CSIRO has two sites in the electorate of Ryan, undertaking a wide range of research in a number of areas, including in hydrogen energy, agriculture, robotics and automation. And she, like all those on this side of the House, values the unique science and technology capabilities of Australia. We've demonstrated our commitment to science and technology, and we can support science, because the Liberal-Nationals government has built a strong economy.

In the budget this year we invested $2.4 billion in Australia's research, science and technology capability. As part of that we invested $1.9 billion in long-term research infrastructure, and we did that because we talked to the sector, we listened to the sector and we understood what their needs are in terms of surety of long-term research infrastructure. We invested $41 million to establish the Australian Space Agency, and projections are that the agency will triple the size of the sector and add another $12 billion to our economy by 2030. It will also create an additional 20,000 new jobs. We invested $4.5 million to improve gender equity in science, technology, engineering and maths. Let me remind the House that the Liberal-Nationals government has invested $1.5 billion more in science agencies than Labor did. This includes $97 million more for CSIRO, $126 million more for ANSTO and $53 million more for the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

But not only do the Liberal-Nationals government value Australia's science sector; we value the relationship between science and business, particularly with small and medium enterprises. That's why in October I released the Statement of Principles for Australian Innovation Precincts. Those principles were developed in conjunction with a number of our key stakeholders, including universities and including state and territory governments. Those will establish some very good principles for innovation precincts, and we know that innovation precincts are important to growing Australia's economy. ANSTO, one of our leading agencies, has established a new innovation precinct, and that will connect Australian industry with some of our nation's best and brightest scientists and engineers. That will drive our innovation capability, it will drive our employment and it will ensure our economic growth into the future. (Time expired)