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  • Australian Scientists caught in 500 years of red tape
Reports that Australian scientists spent more than 500 years’ worth of time preparing research funding application for grants in 2012 via the National Health and Medical Research Council comes as a disappointment to the Coalition.

Excessive red tape undermines the work of Australia’s medical researchers and their international competitiveness. The Coalition is also conscious that ongoing uncertainty about the quantity and timing of medical research funding is also undermining confidence in the sector.

On 30 January 2013, Tony Abbott and the Coalition announced that it would protect medical research funding if elected.

“Every effort should be made to reduce the administrative burden on researchers so they can focus on what they do best – making important discoveries that change so many lives.

“Given the uncertainty of funding that has beset the sector under the Labor Government, the Coalition has already committed to protecting Australia’s medical research funding if elected to Government.

“Providing certainty of funding and reducing the administrative burden for health and medical researchers remains a priority for the Coalition,” Mr Dutton said.

This latest example of excessive red tape comes as no surprise to the Coalition Deregulation Taskforce which was exposed to multiple examples of excessive red tape from both public and private organisations which has resulted from the regulatory program of the Rudd/Gillard Government.

“What is particularly concerning about the story about the NHMRC is the potential damage such stories do to Australia’s international research reputation. Research areas such as medical research are increasingly becoming more global and more competitive.

“Australia’s challenge in the medical research field will be how to attract a greater share of international private sector medical research funding and how Australia can commercialise medical research discoveries here in Australia that drives business and employment growth and provides Australia with another globally competitive export industry.

“Ideally, what we need is for scientists and researchers to be doing more research and less filling in less paperwork. At the end of the day, what we are talking about is developing sustainable competitive advantage for an important national industry. Excessive bureaucratic red tape undermines Australia’s ability to develop that advantage,” Senator Sinodinos said.

Dealing with Australia’s productivity and red tape challenges will be a focus for the Coalition, if elected to government.

“The Coalition policy blueprint, ‘real solutions for all Australians’ makes it clear that dealing with Australia’s productivity and red tape challenges will be a core focus of an Abbott Government. This is particularly true as it relates to the Education and Research sector which is one pillar of the Coalition’s 5-pillar economic strategy,” Senator Sinodinos said.

On 2 November 2012, Tony Abbott released the Coalition’s discussion paper on deregulation. The discussion paper highlighted the problems associated the grants management at the Commonwealth Government level.

“The Coalition is acutely aware that organisations across Australia, particularly organisations from the community and research sectors experience significant imposts of cost and time resulting from the current approaches to grants management.

“The Coalition’s deregulation discussion paper canvassed some reform options to grants management at the Commonwealth level. Dealing with grants management will be an area of priority for the Coalition, necessary to drive improvements in government funded service delivery and the performance of Australia’s publicly funded research institutions,” Senator Sinodinos said.

25 March 2013
For further information on NHMRC
Contact the office of Peter Dutton MP
(07) 3205 9977

For further information on the Coalition’s approach to Red Tape
Contact the office of Senator Sinodinos
(02) 6277 3651
Posted in: Media Releases
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