Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Questions without Notice
Cooperative Research Centres
My question is to the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Carr. Can the minister update the Senate on the progress of the 14th application round for the Cooperative Research Centre program?
I thank Senator Urquhart for her question. Today I take this opportunity to announce that six CRCs have been awarded funding in the 14th CRC selection round—that is, $148 million invested in jobs and living standards for the Australian people. Of that, $58 million will support two new CRCs—a CRC for water sensitive cities will receive $30 million and a CRC for low-carbon living will receive $28 million. We will also invest a further $90 million to help four outstanding CRCs to continue their work. The CRC for National Plant Biosecurity will receive $30 million; the Invasive Animals CRC will receive $19.7 million; the AutoCRC 2020 will receive $26 million; and the CRC for Polymers will receive $14.5 million. This is all about science and industry coming together to build a new Australia. I congratulate the successful groups and the CRC committee for their tireless efforts.
Senator Abetz interjecting—
Senator Abetz, if you had actually spent more time on your job instead of referring to your ancient relatives, like your old mate Uncle Otto, you would actually understand a bit more about this.
We are facing a situation where the value of the dollar has increased by some 63 per cent since the onset of the global economic crisis, and our CRCs are an object lesson on what can be done to transform an industry, a region or an economy to deal with that reality.
The AutoCRC helped to deliver the 2020 roadmap, which sets out the technologies that we need to revitalise the automotive industry: light-weighting, electrification, gaseous fuels and new initiatives in ICT. It works directly with the component suppliers to get them into the global supply chain and it will now have the resources to continue that work, which of course is at a vital time for the Australian automotive industry.
If we look at the CRC for Polymers, companies have launched this on the basis of the credible strength of the research that is engaged. Two of the researchers— (Time expired)
These are investments that are ultimately all about people—their jobs and their living standards. They are about building a better country. This is the beauty of the CRC program. This is a program that Labor established in 1990. It is about providing the wherewithal so that everyone in this country can enjoy the prosperity that they have a right to expect.
The Invasive Animals CRC and the CRC for National Plant Biosecurity have both stood in the front line for our agricultural industries. This is how we see them in terms of dealing with agricultural pests, from rabbits to cane toads to fruit flies. We are also seeing two new CRCs working directly with communities facing up to the realities of water scarcity and carbon pollution, and leading scientists are working together, seeking to develop real solutions with businesses.
I wish all senators opposite a very merry Christmas. (Time expired)