Labor lays out roadmap for Oz

July 13, 2001

Australia is facing a national crisis in the face of a changing world economy where knowledge is paramount, according to a report released by the opposition Labor Party last week.

The Knowledge Nation report says the most visible effects of the national investment crisis are in Australia's universities and technical colleges. Libraries are overwhelmed, student:staff ratios have increased and research infrastructure needs renewal.

The report says: "Funding pressures are forcing our universities to neglect core enabling disciplines within the fields of science, engineering, the social sciences and the humanities. Our universities and colleges need a reinvestment and modernisation strategy based on increased funding for core activities, new programmes, such as those to boost online education and incentives for people to enrol in key 'Knowledge Nation' disciplines."

The report calls for changes to spending on universities, a doubling of Australia's investment in research and development over the next decade to take the nation to the top of world rankings, and the building of three institutes in biotechnology, information technology and environmental management.

Labor leader Kim Beazley said: "The report will be our roadmap on a journey that stretches through this decade and beyond. The Knowledge Nation will have a high funding priority. Our future demands no less."

While prime minister John Howard dismissed the report as a grab-bag of unfunded promises, claiming much of it was based on his government's five-year, A$3 billion (£1.1 billion) innovation programme, education lobby groups welcomed its analysis and recommendations.

The Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee president Ian Chubb said that, when supported with the necessary funding, the report's recommendations would position Australia to meet the challenges of the knowledge-based global economy.

Australian Academy of Science president Brian Anderson said that for the first time in a decade, science and technology had come to the forefront of the national agenda. He said all political parties recognised that Australia's economy was based increasingly on innovation.

A spokesman for the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies said the report was a welcome injection of ideas into a discussion vital to Australia.

The report also calls for:

  • Significantly increased funding for leading research organisations
  • A review of tax and other incentives for the commercialisation of Australian ideas
  • A tackling of the brain-drain  crisis by providing 1,000 new research fellowships, building a database of all Australian researchers living abroad and developing incentives to encourage them to return.      

 

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns