Bills Digest no. 19 2008–09
Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2008
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest
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Contact officer & copyright details
4 September 2008
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Innovation, Industry, Science and
relevant links to the Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and second
reading speech can be accessed via BillsNet, which is at http://www.aph.gov.au/bills/.
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The Bill amends
the Australian Research Council Act 2001 (the Act) to
provide increased funding in the financial years 2008 09, 2009 10,
2010 11; and provide funding for the new financial year 2011
Research Council (ARC) was originally created through the
Employment, Education and Training Act 1988, but
subsequently became an independent statutory body under the Act.
Governance of the ARC was reformed through the Australian
Research Council Amendment Act 2006.
The ARC provides
advice to the Government on research matters; makes recommendations
to the Minister on the allocation of funds within the National
Competitive Grants Program (NCGP); and administers the NCGP.
The National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP)
In 2006 07 NCGP grants amounted to $570.3
million, nine per cent of the total Australian Government
assistance for research and development. The NCGP comprises two main elements:
Discovery and Linkage. Discovery Projects fund
individual researchers and projects across a broad range of
disciplines. Linkage Projects support cooperative
research between higher education providers and industry,
government and community organisations.
At the last election, the Government promised
to introduce a Future Fellowships funding scheme
to promote research in areas of critical national importance by
giving world class researchers incentives to keep doing their
research in Australia.
In the 2008 09 Budget the Government met the
election commitment through the budget measure Future
Fellowships establishment, estimated at $326.2 million over
four years to 2011 12.
Future Fellowships will be administered as a
new scheme under the Discovery element of the National Competitive
Grants Program (NCGP).
Commencing in 2009, up to 200 new Future
Fellowships will be awarded per year. Over a five-year period (2009
13), Future Fellowships will offer four-year Fellowships of up to
$140,000 a year to 1000 Australian and international top
researchers in the middle of their career. In addition, each
researcher s administering organisation will receive funding of up
to $50,000 per year to support related infrastructure, equipment,
travel and relocation costs.
The Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Minister for
Education representing the relevant Minister, says the Bill
provides approximately an extra $950 million over the forward
The Bill appropriates an extra $943.1 million
over four years, the majority of which is the $731.6 million
appropriated through proposed paragraph 49(l) for
the newly inserted forward estimate year 2011 12.
If the appropriations in the four years, 2007
08 to 2010 11, in existing paragraphs 49(h), (i), (j) and (k) of
the Act are compared with the proposed four years of appropriations
in the Bill, the Bill provides an extra $371.3 million. This
increased appropriation will meet the Government s commitment to
establish the new Future Fellowships.
49 of the Act sets out the annual cap on ARC grants funding for
future years. Item 2 repeals paragraphs 49(i), (j)
and (k) and substitutes new paragraphs 49(i), (j), (k) and
(l) which set out the funding caps for the financial years
starting 1 July 2008 up to 1 July 2011. New paragraph
49(l) adds an addition year of funding the 2011 12
financial year. That year has a cap of $731.649 million.
The Bill provides for total additional
appropriations of $943.1 million to fund the ARC s existing
competitive grants scheme, indexation and meet the Government s
election commitment to establish a new competitive grant category
Future Fellowships estimated to cost $326.2 million over
. Australian Research
Council, Annual Report, 2006 07, p. 12.
15 September 2008
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