Page 3338 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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funding in its entirety was known throughout the industry and was expected to come into effect in 2015, after changes were made to this year’s budget. I do not recall too much by way of this local government communicating to the then government their displeasure at such potential cuts.

The current discussions around funding cuts to NICTA are premature, to say the least. It is well to remember, however, that NICTA is still eligible to seek funding from the Australian Research Council, and it also receives funding from the University of New South Wales, ANU and New South Wales government—as well as the ACT government, which, Mr Gentleman notes, has provided significant funding. Funding is also provided through the Victorian government and the University of Melbourne, as well as from NICTA’s own commercial enterprises.

Whilst ACT Labor continues its policy of taxing more and spending more money than it earns, Liberal philosophy is all about growing the economy. We do support NICTA, but we cannot know with any certainty what its federal government funding will be. And neither does Mr Gentleman. Much of this motion is premature and speculative. However, the opposition has always supported NICTA and will continue to do so.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (11.57): I thank Mr Gentleman for bringing this motion forward today, because NICTA is a great institution. Australia has a strong history of science and innovation. We have all benefited from lifesaving discoveries made by Australia’s outstanding researchers. As we move into an increasingly complex and resource constrained future, our national wellbeing will become ever more dependent on further technological advances.

Australia is in the perfect position to become a leader in the global transition to knowledge-based economies. To do so, we need a robust and nimble research sector, with the ability to tackle the difficult problems that we face.

The Greens believe that we need a strong research sector in Australia to help move away from the industries of the past, and to deliver the jobs of the future. This will mean ensuring that every dollar spent on research is spent well, and that our great public research agencies, like the CSIRO, our universities, medical research institutes and NICTA, work together with each other, with industry and with international partners.

NICTA is an organisation that was established with exactly those goals in mind. It was designed to build capacity and strengthen investment in strategic information technologies. It was designed to pursue high-impact research excellence that would deliver national benefit and create wealth for Australia. It was developed as a world-class, world-scale research institute. And as a recipient of significant public research grants, it was an organisation in which Australia was investing in our future prosperity.

That is why it is highly disappointing that the incoming Liberal federal government has seen fit to cut $42 million in funding for this important organisation. At just the time when Australia needs to be investing strategically in research and innovation, we

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