Innovation, Industry & Science
A flexible and inclusive industry policy is crucial to our economic future and creating jobs.
There are many challenges to sections of Australia’s industry particularly from the mining boom.
The mining bubble is driving up the Australian dollar and hurting other sectors of the economy particularly manufacturing, education, and tourism.
Industry policy must assist industry with these challenges and support investment in innovation that can help these industries survive and flourish.
Innovation is central to the transformation of economy as we move to a sustainable clean energy economy.
26 Oct 2011
The Gillard government's "rethink" on free trade is long overdue and the focus needs to shift in the short term to the government's headlong rush into the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, Australian Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne said today.
"Australia should not trade away its health care, nor should it trade away its food security, local media content rules or Australian government procurement rules just because US companies want the right to sue Australian governments for damages on the grounds that environmental or other public interest laws could harm their investments," Senator Milne said in Hobart.
"The process and the text of the proposed agreement should be opened up to public scrutiny and evidence of benefits needs to be clearly established before these agreements are signed up to - as was not the case with the US FTA.
"Fair trade, not just free trade, needs to be the focus. There needs to be transparency and consistency on labour rights and environmental laws as well as an unreserved support for developing and least developed countries.
"A long-standing concern of the Greens has been the increasing difficulties faced by food producers when trying to compete against products produced with lax environmental standards and low wages. Free trade agreements which take no account of environmental laws or wage differences make it near impossible for farmers to compete with foreign-grown products no matter how efficient Australian farmers are.
"A Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA would also bring with it Monsanto's pressure regarding genetically engineered crops and their push to end labelling of GE foods, pressure from US corporates on Australia's pharmaceutical benefits scheme, and a push back on the plain packaging of tobacco.
"Just yesterday the Public Health Association of Australia warned that documents leaked from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement talks outline US proposals for provisions that would raise the cost of medicines, extend the monopoly rights of drug companies and place new restrictions on Australia's pharmaceutical benefits scheme.
"The world needs a new trade regime that maximises food production where it can be grown best and which guarantees fair trade in food and equitable access for all.
"Instead of recycling old ways of thinking we should think about this century's challenges of sustainability in the face of huge population growth, including climate change, the growing gap between rich and poor, and the competition between China and the US for influence across the Pacific and beyond."
12 Oct 2011
Greens MP and spokesperson on Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Adam Bandt has congratulated two Melbourne based scientists who have been jointly awarded the the $300,000 Prime Minister's Prize for Science.
Professors Ezio Rizzardo (CSIRO) and David Solomon (University of Melbourne) developed new chemical theories that have had a big impact on the production of polymers, particularly in plastics.
"I want to congratulate two of Melbourne's great scientific pioneers," Mr Bandt said.
"This is a fantastic decision that highlights not just the ground breaking work of these two wonderful scientists but also the important research being undertaken in Melbourne."
"Science and research will increasingly underpin our economic prosperity and our shift to a sustainable society."
"This decision reinforces the importance of continued and increased government and business support for science."
Mr Bandt also congratulated the Stuart Wyithe from the University of Melbourne who has been awarded the Physical Scientist of the Year Award for work on the physics of the formation of the universe.
10 Oct 2011
Sarah held a door stop in Canberra today on topics including immigration, marriage equality and the carbon pricing package.
05 Oct 2011
Greens MP and science spokesperson Adam Bandt has congratulated Australia's latest Nobel laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt.
"This is a well deserved award for Professor Schmidt and a fantastic win for Australian scientific research", Mr Bandt said today.
"It reinforces the importance of government support for science funding particularly for basic research."
The Australian Greens want the Federal Government to adopt a target of 3% of GDP for R&D funding lifting Australia into line with other leading OECD economies.
28 Sep 2011
Greens spokesperson for Science and Research, Adam Bandt, has called on the government to reinstate $3.5m in science education funding. This follows Professor Suzanne Cory’s address to the National Press Club today, where she expressed concern science education is on the decline in Australia today.
“Professor Cory made a strong case for linking science education to Australia’s current and future prosperity. Investment in research, innovation and development is critical.”
“Understanding science starts in school and Australian students’ science literacy is lagging behind other countries.”
“Australia’s future economy needs high levels of science literacy.”
“The government should reinstate funding for the very successful Primary Connections and Science by Doing programs run by the Academy of Science. These two programs have improved science education for teachers and students and need only an additional $3.5m over three years.
Greens leader Senator Bob Brown will move a motion in the Senate calling on the Government to reinstate the two programs.
Contact: Sam La Rocca 0413 620 073
08 Sep 2011
Watershed research from the Australia Institute released today once again illustrates the need for Australia to manage the mining boom properly, say the Australian Greens.
Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said the paper ‘Mining the Truth' makes it clear the mining industry is dodging its social responsibilities while causing damage to other sectors of the economy.
"The average rate of corporate tax paid by the mining industry in 2008-09 was 13.9 per cent. The average rate of corporate tax across the economy was 21 per cent. The industry only employs 1.8 per cent of workers in Australia, but the boom is pushing up the cost of living for everyone else - especially in Western Australia - and suffocating other sectors like manufacturing, farming and hospitality," said Senator Ludlam.
"83 per cent of the mining industry is foreign owned. While the mining industry pays less than 14 per cent corporate tax, over the next five years it will send $50 billion in dividends out of this country. Are the majority of Western Australians happy with that equation? I know I'm not."
"Labor's proposed watered-down mining tax is weak and gutless, and the Coalition doesn't have the integrity or the sense to support even that mild measure.
"The original version proposed by Treasury would have been economically responsible and ensure all Australians benefit from this boom. Putting the revenue into a sovereign fund would be sound policy and a safeguard against the inevitable bursting of the resources bubble, but the Government and particularly the Opposition act like there is no tomorrow - it is wildly irresponsible."
"The Australian Greens want to see the original super profits tax model in place - with the super-rich mining companies paying their fair share while small businesses get a significant tax cut. That model would see a huge number Western Australian businesses better off."
Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302
01 Sep 2011
1 September marks one year since the Australian Greens signed an historic agreement with Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Labor Government.
The Gillard agreement has achieved outcomes for Australians in terms of passage of bills and lack of confrontation between the houses. We have consultation instead of confrontation.
The agreement was reached after the Greens secured a breakthrough win with Adam Bandt in the lower house seat of Melbourne and a record number of senators, and contains detailed policy and accountability mechanisms.
One year on many of these are now in place.
23 Aug 2011
The research and development reforms passed in the Parliament today increase support for small and medium sized businesses, particularly after the Greens secured amendments to help the cash-flow of these companies which are the engine room of innovation in Australia.
The agreement to make quarterly cash payments to small and medium-sized companies, instead of annual tax credits, was reached after a lengthy consultation by the Greens with a broad range of industry representatives.
"Imagination is the resource of the 21st century," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.