14 April 2011. Australian Academy of Science President Professor Suzanne Cory today urged the Federal Government to defend Australia’s economic productivity, public health and environment by properly investing in science research and education.
“Australia is a world leader in many scientific fields, but we can’t rest on our reputation or
remain competitive without ongoing Government commitment,” Professor Cory said.
The Australian Academy of Science is particularly concerned about indications that the
Government intends to cut medical research in the May Budget.
In 2008 the Government was committed to ensuring that Australia’s best and brightest
researchers had sufficient support and financial assistance to continue to work at the forefront of their fields. It publicly stated its belief that improving preventative health services and chronic disease management through targeted research would deliver better health outcomes for Australians and their families.
1. “I call on the Government’s Expenditure Review Committee to stand by this fine and justifiable commitment,” Professor Cory said.
“We should be increasing our investment in research to at least OECD averages to advance our National Research Priorities, not plundering one of our most productive research fields for a cash fix.
“Cutting medical research would have a devastating impact on the ability of Australian patients to access new treatments and diagnostic technologies. It would interrupt promising research already in train, and drive bright researchers overseas in search of more stable funding sources.”
Many Academy Fellows and educators have now written to the Prime Minister, the Science Minister and the Health Minister, urging them to increase Australia’s investment in scientific research and science education in primary schools and secondary schools.
The Prime Minister acknowledged at her Science Prizes award ceremony last year that
‘science is one of the fundamental platforms upon which our conception of a modern
advanced society is based’
2. “Science and scientific literacy are cornerstones of Australia's prosperity and science is likely to transform society this century in an even greater way than it did in the 20th century,” Professor Cory explained.
“I urge the Government to demonstrate in the coming Budget that it still recognises and values the essential contribution of Australian science – now and into the future.”