Science & Technology Australia slams Budget 'raid' on support for commercialisation

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Science & Technology Australia has criticised the Albanese Government in response to a $46.2 million cut in support for commercialisation in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The half-yearly Budget update confirmed the decision to redirect $46.2 million over four years away from Australia’s Economic Accelerator program to other priorities.

Science & Technology Australia, which represents around 115,000 scientists and technologists, said the redirection represents a 7 per cent cut to the fund.

"The cut comes as Australia’s investment in R&D has already plunged to a four-decade low - when Australia urgently needs to lift its investment in R&D, rather than raid it," said the association.

Science & Technology Australia President Professor Sharath Sriram called it a step in the wrong direction.

“Australia urgently needs to invest more - not less - in research and development to generate the next wave of new jobs and income to secure the living standards of our kids and grandkids,” he said.

“Australia cannot afford to chip away at our investment in commercialising our research breakthroughs - delivering major dividends takes strategic, stable, and bold investment.

“We cannot afford to undermine certainty and confidence - which are crucial to the willingness of Australian industry to engage in research commercialisation.

“We urge the Government and Education Minister Jason Clare to rethink this cut - especially as the Government considers the final report of the Australian Universities Accord in the months ahead.

“The Accord urgently needs to deepen Australia’s ambition and investments in R&D to secure Australia’s economic future – starting in the May Budget in 2024," added Professor Sriram.