Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Federal Budget 2016


The Federal Budget announced an additional $100 million for geographical modelling of mineral, petroleum and groundwater resources, and $200 million over 10 years for Antarctic research. However, there were no direct budget measures relating to CSIRO.

“The government is maintaining support for the science budget: the Academy is pleased to see this indication of a long-term commitment to science in Australia.

“We warmly welcome the announcement of additional funding for Australia’s Antarctic program. Australia is a leader in Antarctic science, and it’s great to see a long-term commitment like this.

“I’m delighted to see this major new investment from the Australian government to undertake new modelling of mineral resources... Our mineral wealth has helped to sustain long-term economic growth in Australia. This announcement will help us find new mineral deposits and has the potential to deliver long-term economic gains for Australia.”

Prof Andrew Holmes is the President of The Australian Academy of Science.

“The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) announced as part of the 2014 Budget was a big win for our sector, and important recognition of the critical role it plays in our economy, and the health of the community, through improved diagnostics and treatments, and tremendous savings to the health system.

“Hopefully this additional funding will reassure many concerned medical researchers that they have a future in Australia, after a recent survey by Professional Scientists Australia found four out of five medical researchers were considering leaving the sector due to a lack of job security primarily stemming from funding issues.

“As a nation we invest hugely in the training of our talented medical researchers, and we simply cannot afford to keep wasting this talent. We must ensure our best and brightest continue to work in Australia, conducting world-class research that helps save lives, and money.

“The MRFF will be a huge boost for medical research funding in Australia, and should encourage our best and brightest to stay here and make the discoveries that will help our people and our economy.

“The MRFF is the sort of far-sighted public policy we so often cry out for in Australia. If jobs and growth are what Australia needs, then there is no better investment than in medical innovation.”

Prof Doug Hilton is President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes.

“The increase in tobacco tax alone will translate to tens of thousands of cancer deaths avoided, with trend data showing that the recurrent increases will lead to around 320,000 smokers quitting and 40,000 teenagers deterred from taking smoking up.

“Key commitments also included:

  • $29.9 million over 3 years to integrate Australia’s cancer-screening registries;
  • $63.8 million to subsidise medicines for breast and prostate cancer and melanoma;
  • $21.3 million to trial up to 200 Health Care Homes, with the aim of integrating prevention and care for people with chronic and complex conditions; and
  • $5.3 million for continued promotion of the Health Star Rating food labelling system.

“Additional investment and policy work are required in all the areas targeted by these initiatives, but the government should nonetheless be commended for its commitments.

“For example, the screening register has great potential to monitor screening participation, but we will need to do more to increase participation itself – particularly in bowel cancer screening, where the benefits are extraordinary but awareness is low.

“Funding for cancer medicines is also welcome, however governments in Australia and elsewhere will need to do more to assist people with rarer cancers who face exorbitant treatment costs.

“The funding for piloting Health Care Homes also puts some substance to a longstanding need to do more to enhance chronic disease control at the primary care level, and help inform an ongoing commitment.

Prof Sanchia Aranda is CEO of the Cancer Council Australia.