Senate debates

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Questions without Notice


2:48 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Education and Training) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Back for his question. I know that Senator Back, like all senators on this side, acknowledges that sound investment in effective research and the commercialisation of that research is essential for Australia's capacity to adapt into the future to be able to address many of the challenges we face in the changing and dynamic workforce environment and global economy that we operate in. Over the forward estimates our government has committed $10.7 billion to research activities across my own portfolio, and across government, in the 2015-16 financial year alone, we will spend some $9.7 billion on investment in science, research and innovation.

The government will invest more than $3 billion over the next four years in the highest quality research relating to the discovery of new ideas and the advancement of knowledge through the Australian Research Council. I am delighted that I recently had the opportunity of announcing many of the ARC's Discovery Projects grants, with some 44 new research projects commencing in 2015 in Senator Back's home state alone—$16 million of funding going into Western Australia as part of a much broader and larger government investment.

The funding in WA alone will support research into robotics, new healthcare products and scientific literacy—just to name a few areas. One of the particular projects that is extraordinarily exciting, the Murchison Widefield Array telescope, which is a Curtin University project, is receiving more than $1 million of support. This is a forerunner to the large Square Kilometre Array, which will seriously advance Australia's scientific capacity and knowledge. It is a project of which Western Australians are all rightly proud, but the whole nation should be proud of what projects like this will deliver in positioning Australia to be a clever and successful nation in the future.


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