09 September 2020
BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SCIENCE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS
MEMBER FOR GORTON
TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
GO8 REPORT HIGHLIGHTS VULNERABILITY OF RESEARCH CAPABILITY UNDER GOVERNMENT
A report released today by the Group of Eight universities warns that funding cuts and research job losses will make it harder for Australia to recover from the recession.
The report, Enabling Australia’s Economic Recovery Through Supporting Research Excellence, shows that increasing threats to Australian research jobs under the Morrison Government will significantly hamper the development of industries that could give our economy a boost and get people back into work.
Warning that Australia faces the loss of nearly 10,000 researchers to other nations, and emphasising the insecure nature of the work of many quality Australian researchers, the report states:
“It is this workforce which leads to new products and discoveries, and which, in turn, creates the jobs and the productivity vital to Australia’s post COVID-19 future.”
The report emphasises the need for collaboration across industries to promote innovation and exposes the devastating impacts of the loss of university funding to our research capability.
In order to boost productivity in strategic areas such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, transport, infrastructure, energy and defence, then Australia needs to back our research capability.
What we are sadly seeing under the Morrison Government is the opposite.
We are relying on researchers to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, but those researchers can’t rely on Scott Morrison to protect their jobs.
At a time when it is more important than ever to listen to our scientists and researchers, the Morrison Government is presiding over a decline in research and development, and is failing to adequately commercialise science.
This Government has been silent when it comes to increasing concerns from scientists and professional researchers that they are facing job cuts, insecure work, and wage freezes.
Undermining science has taken various forms under Liberals, including cutting staff at the CSIRO, the very organisation now testing vaccines for the coronavirus, and sending them to the Centrelink queues.
They have refused to give universities any support during this crisis, despite up to 30,000 jobs estimated to be slashed.
Despite the obvious importance of research and development in the race to establish, manufacture and distribute a vaccine, this Government remains committed to slashing nearly $2billion from the R&D Tax Incentive, hurting Australian researchers and manufacturers in the private sector.
Federal Labor believes in the importance of listening to and respecting our experts, particularly in response to COVID-19. The Government’s anti-science agenda is clear.
Cuts to research and development will only hamper Australia’s long-term economic recovery from the Morrison Government’s recession.