The inquiry into Australia’s Innovation system, currently being conducted by the Senate’s Economic References committee, has released an interim report.
Established in 2014, the inquiry is focussed on ‘the challenges to Australian industries and jobs posed by increasing global competition in innovation, science, engineering, research and education.’
In partnership with CPSU, the Staff Association made a written submission to the inquiry arguing that government laboratories such as CSIRO and other publicly funded research agencies deliver critically important science in service of the national interest across a wide range of research areas.
Funding must increase
“Last year’s Federal Budget delivered drastic cuts to science funding; resulting in heavy job losses, cuts to research and a decline in Australia’s overall science capability and capacity to innovate,” Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said.
“Our submission contends that funding for publicly funded research agencies should increase overall and grow at least in proportion to overall national economic activity.”
Earlier this month, a CPSU delegation including representatives of the Staff Association and Bureau of Meteorology met with Senators in Melbourne to provide in face testimony and answers questions regarding the union’s submission.
The recently released interim report charts the participation of applicants to date and includes an issues paper authored by Professor Roy Green, Dean of the Business School at the University of Technology Sydney. Professor Green has been contracted by the committee as an expert consultant for the purposes of the inquiry.
“The Staff Association is still in the process of analysing the issues paper and the options proposed by Professor Green. It’s anticipated that the committee will hold further discussions and deliberations before the production of a final report,” Mr Popovski said.
The committee has also requested an extension to present the final report no later than 25 November 2015.
“In addition to continuing to liaise with the committee, Staff Association representatives will meet with federal politicians in another series of face to face meetings before the final report is released,” Mr Popovski said.