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Labor’s statement of intent on a science and research reset is powerful

The Group of Eight (Go8) – which represents Australia’s leading research-intensive universities – is encouraged by Labor’s promised commitment to a complete reset of how Australian science and research is treated, valued and capitalised upon.

Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson says Labor Leader Bill Shorten’s acknowledgement, of the depth at which research should be incorporated into Government decisions to benefit everyday lives and address major economic issues, should be acknowledged as an important step forward.

“Labor has set out unequivocally that in Government it would make science and research front and centre of its decision-making processes,” said Ms Thomson.

“It is especially important for the Go8 that science and research is to be embedded as a key tenet in Labor’s  values, policies and direction, and the Go8 looks forward to being able to contribute to advancing this commitment.”

Ms Thomson said Labor had acknowledged the research and science system was currently at risk, given it is weakened and thwarted by a distorted funding model; an issue still unresolved (and damaging Australia’s economy and International reputation) despite successive research funding reviews.

“Labor’s proposed root-and-branch science and research review provides a major opportunity to take a hard, focussed, look at these systemic weaknesses such as investigated through Canada’s Naylor review which saw positive outcomes,” she said.

“The proposed charter with the Australian science and research community, and the appropriate recognition it pays to the work of our scientists, as well as Labor’s emphasis on the importance of academic freedom and peer review, is vital to Australia’s leading research-intensive Universities. Our research contributes some $24.5 billion to Australia’s economy each year,” said Ms Thomson.

“The renewed commitment to raise to three per cent the proportion of GDP spent on R&D, and to seriously consider a collaboration premium in the R&D Tax Incentive, further indicates the value Labor is stating it places on science and research.” Ms Thomson said. “And of course the Go8 also welcomes the establishment of a Prime Minister’s Science and Innovation Council, to bring renewed leadership to how science and research and development are driven and optimised.”’

Contact:               Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472

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