#Budget2016: the science forecast

There’s been a lot of commotion about #Budget2016 over the past couple of days and all was revealed last night.

Lucky (or unlucky — depending on your view) journos were locked up in Canberra in a room to read the budget before they were allowed to report on it at 7.30pm AEST last night.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison made his Budget speech in parliament and Twitter went wild.

As an industry heavily reliant on government support, the scientific community around Australia paid close attention to the Federal budget announcement. With last year’s #ideasboom, an announcement of $1.1 billion into the newly created National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) (as we previously reported on), expectations were high.

Show me the money

The focus was clear from the get go.

Part of ensuring jobs and growth was the continual investment towards the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

But there were a few other exciting points:

  • Some of the budget measures announced include an additional $100.5 million in funding to Geoscience Australia to produce geographical modelling of mineral, petroleum and groundwater resources
  • Antarctic science has also had a boost with an additional $200 million over 10 years from 2016–17 to support Australia’s presence in Antarctica
  • Continued funding towards the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and the Medical Research Future Fund ensuring support in the medium to long term
  • There were no clear direct budget measures relating to CSIRO, the National Health and Medical Research Council

What the experts said

The general consensus can be summed up in this tweet:

You can imagine the budget elicited a few reactions.

Professor Andrew Holmes, President of The Australian Academy of Science, “the Government is maintaining support for the science budget: the Academy is pleased to see this indication of a long-term commitment to science in Australia.”

“We warmly welcome the announcement of additional funding for Australia’s Antarctic program. Australia is a leader in Antarctic science, and it’s great to see a long-term commitment like this.” There may be a slight irony in warmly welcoming research for one of the coldest environments on Earth. Still in light of recent climate change research cuts, a warm welcome may be appropriate after all.

“I’m delighted to see this major new investment from the Australian Government to undertake new modelling of mineral resources. The Academy identified the need for such work in this area through its UNCOVER project and it’s good to see the government responding in this way. Our mineral wealth has helped to sustain long-term economic growth in Australia. This announcement will help us find new mineral deposits and has the potential to deliver long-term economic gains for Australia.”

Some were a bit more cynical…

So whilst there aren’t major disappointments, many scientists can stop holding their breath after the 2016 budget announcement. The positives announced last night should still ensure there will be some exciting research opportunities in Australia in the future.

Want to see the budget?

Official website: http://budget.gov.au/

Originally published on Australia’s Science Channel: http://www.australiascience.tv/blogs/budget2016-science-forecast