Page 3375 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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Australian ICT research firm, NICTA may look to expand into South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania after having its funding axed by the Queensland government.

According to the Australian, research funding cuts from Queensland’s Newman government will see NICTA shed 20 of its staff.

That is a good vote of confidence! Also, a report by Jake Sturmer headed “Coalition to slash funding for top technology institute NICTA” states:

The Coalition has revealed if it wins government it will slash funding for one of Australia's top technology research institutions.

NICTA … is one of the key partners of the bionic eye project, building the electronics and developing vision processing techniques … The Coalition revealed through its costings it would axe the Federal Government's share, despite the Opposition's communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull visiting the Sydney site several times.

But was it not Mr Turnbull who overturned something that he did not know was happening in federal politics at one point there?

It is understood the proposed cuts came as a surprise to the institution, which employs 580 researchers, technical and professional staff … Dr John Parker is the CEO of Saluda Medical, one of NICTA's spin-off companies.

He believes without the institution, its devices to relieve chronic pain would never have been developed.

It is absolute hypocrisy for those opposite to say they support NICTA yet under a Liberal government in Queensland we have seen jobs slashed and we have seen the incoming federal government within less than 48 hours of going to the polls seeking to do that as well.

Mr Assistant Speaker, an amendment has been circulated in my name, and I now move:

Add new paragraph (4):

“(4) calls on the Leader of the Opposition to adopt a bipartisan position by issuing a public statement which unequivocally condemns the proposed cuts to NICTA as a short-sighted measure likely to slow productivity growth and cost jobs.”.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (3.59): I thank Ms Burch for moving this amendment, because I think it is important that we do get a position from the Canberra Liberals on the funding situation at NICTA. It was not that long ago that the shadow treasurer was asking me questions about NICTA’s future funding. I was very pleased to be able to get back to the Assembly within 24 hours with information on—

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