Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Undervalued, underfunded, undermined… How science fared in the Budget

By Rod Lamberts

Once again the Federal Budget treated science as discretional spending rather than a key to the nation's competitiveness.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Anyone expecting undying gratitude from scientists should think again. MacGeekGrl/Flickr
The post-budget political rhetoric to me reinforces the underlying, ongoing, disdain that this, and indeed many previous, governments have for science-related matters in Australia.

Minister Carr is reported as saying that finding the “record” $3 billion to keep CSIRO going for the next four years “wasn’t easy".

While I applaud him for fighting the good fight to secure this cash, I’m still left feeling bewildered that a fight was even necessary.

How is it that we are still in a world (and in Australia’s case, an economy) where funding enterprises such as CSIRO are even slightly tricky to sell to our lords and mistresses?

Mr Carr himself speaks of how CSIRO gives Australia a competitive edge, and how 150 companies have been directly arisen from CSIRO research.

The line is being trotted out by certain media outlets that the funding represents a “big splurge for science” is cause for great disappointment.

It’s as if science spending should somehow be considered reckless, as if it’s showing favouritism to niche interest groups as opposed to investing in our collective futures on myriad fronts.

Other causes for disillusionment abound.

Apparently, roughly $9 million will be allocated for the decommissioning of two nuclear facilities...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Rod Lamberts is Deputy Director of the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University.