Science, technology and innovation are crucial to Australia's current and future prosperity. No more is this so than in WA. The Greens are a fierce advocate for the importance of scientific research and the need for it to be adequately funded and supported.
A CUTTING-EDGE ECONOMY
BOOSTING RESEARCH & DEVEOPMENT
While Australia’s expenditure on R&D as a proportion of GDP has increased, we are still below the OECD average and a long way from where we should be, which is up around 3% like Japan and Germany. The government needs to make a commitment to increased R&D funding and set a national goal of at least 3% of GDP. That will require an increase in public funding but also a greater contribution from the private sector as well.
The Greens refuse to risk our country's future. We recognise that a diverse, creative and resilient economy is the guarantee we need for a prosperous society beyond the resources boom. Studies into R&D have consistently found the rate of return on public investment is extremely high - in the range of 20 to 50 per cent. Our agriculture industry alone pulls an average 43% return from its innovation. Alongside the industry-wide successes are individual Australian stories that have changed our lives, from the bionic ear and Gardasil to solar panels than can be made on an A3 printer.
Funding research in universities makes good business sense. Yet the government recently took $30 million from the Cooperative Research Program which will make universities even more dependent on corporate priorities.
The Greens will secure our future prosperity by:
• Increasing R&D investment (public and private) to 3% of GDP by 2020 – worth $2.5 billion over the forward estimates; and
• Increasing base funding to universities by 10% by 2017 – worth $1.5 billion.