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Research plan to boost families, businesses and farmers

15 May 2018

Joint media release with Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham.

Tackling cancer, boosting farm crops, cyber security and better management of the Great Barrier Reef are just some of the benefits set to flow from a landmark research investment strategy revealed by the Turnbull Government.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham and Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the Turnbull Government’s new $1.9 billion Research Infrastructure Investment Plan would be critical to the lives of Australians. The Plan directly responds to the recommendations from the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap developed by a group of experts led by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO.

“Our research plan will mean a better Australia for families, businesses and farmers,” Minister Birmingham said.

“The Turnbull Government is partnering with researchers and facilities across our world leading universities and other research institutions that will deliver a stronger economy, a healthier environment and cutting-edge medicines and treatments.

“With the nearly $2 billion we’ve committed over the next decade to upgrade and strengthen Australia’s research facilities, our world-leading scientists and researchers will have the tools they need to support their vital work.

“This is the single largest and most comprehensive investment in research by any Australian Government and it builds on the $189 million we announced last year for computational infrastructure and astronomy facilities as well as the $150 million per annum of indexed funding certainty we delivered in 2016 for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy under the National Science and Innovation Agenda.

“Australia’s prosperity depends on the work being done in these research labs today and into the future.”

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the Turnbull Government’s investments would help unleash innovation potential across the country.

“This investment will ensure our researchers and industry have greater access to state-of-the-art facilities and advances in research, driving economic growth, creating jobs, and producing outcomes that will be enormously beneficial for us all,” Minister Cash said.

“This investment will also facilitate international science and research partnerships in areas like astronomy, food security, bioscience, quantum computing, resource management and nanotechnologies.

“Our plan secures more than 370 technical roles and a further estimated 500 jobs for highly skilled technicians. Every year an estimated 40,000 students and researchers, people in industry, government and business will benefit from the upgrades.

“This is an investment to drive scientific discoveries and innovations that will improve the lives of people around the world, and create businesses and jobs in Australia.”

The Research Infrastructure Investment Plan includes a range of projects and facilities with examples like:

  • Remote sensor data on a range of ocean conditions that will help preserve the health of the Great Barrier Reef
  • A recently developed blood test that is improving the screening of bowel cancer detection, which will save lives
  • Construction of facilities capable of designing devices on the nanoscale to be on the forefront of the quantum computing revolution
  • Expanding the Southern Hemisphere’s unique nuclear capabilities to drive advances in biotechnology, agricultural, chemical and material sciences

These national research infrastructure facilities support the ground-breaking work of Australian scientists like 2018 Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons and Senior Australian of the Year, plant scientist Dr Graham Farquhar AO.

The Research Infrastructure Investment Plan is available at: https://www.education.gov.au/government-investment-national-research-infrastructure

Media contacts:

Minister Cash's office- 02 6277 7320

Minister Birmingham's office- 02 6277 7350