[ASC-media] Media Release

Australasian Science science at control.com.au
Mon May 29 08:49:55 EST 2006

Saving Aussie Science from Third-World Status

Australia¹s trade debt threatens Australia¹s competitiveness in R&D
according to industrialist, Mr Ted Roach. Writing in the June issue of
Australasian Science magazine, published today, he warns of the long-term
dangers to Australia¹s science and higher education from the nation¹s
reliance on the export of minerals while foreign debt has been increasing
exponentially over the past 30 years to $500 billion.
On current trends, this total foreign debt will be increasing by a further
$3 billion per week in 2 years. Mr Roach says: ³This trend is unsustainable
and is due to Australia¹s inability to manufacture and export elaborately
transformed manufactured goods (ETMs). If continued, Australia will join
Third World countries that cannot afford public sector research
organisations or even universities.²
A civil engineer, Mr Roach is Managing Director of Roach Industries Pty Ltd
and has three decades¹ experience in physics research and commercial R&D.
His company promotes commercial research centres as the avenue to develop
exports of ETMs and address Australia¹s exponentially increasing foreign
He points to sharp contrasts between Australia and Japan, which ³has always
maintained a healthy trade balance² and funds thousands of private research
centres. ³Asia is following its model,² he says. ³China has more than 600
centres, 200 built in the past year.² These centres in Japan were ³initially
established with government grants, [and] are funded further according to
exports generated from innovations.²
Australia has no similar centres. Mr Roach asserts: ³Federal and state
government policies have deliberately stifled them with scattergun R&D
funding to private companies at a government¹s whim. This has been a
disaster for research.²
Mr Roach is especially concerned about the future of CSIRO. He believes that
Japanese private research centres ³are most successful when government
funding is based on outcomes, not management, as is the case with
Australia¹s CSIRO². Further, he estimates that CSIRO¹s science is around
1800 times less efficient than Japan¹s ³because CSIRO sells technology to
overseas companies and Australia imports goods manufactured from the
technology, further draining our foreign debt².
Mr Roach concludes: ³CSIRO will not exist within a decade unless we get our
foreign debt under control. If policymakers wish CSIRO to survive it should
stick to what it does best ­ pure and basic research for the public good,
and leave its commercialisation to competitive private R&D centres with
funding based on exports achieved from their innovation. No exports, no
Summaries and quotations of selected passages for reporting or review are
permissible provided AUSTRALASIAN SCIENCE MAGAZINE is credited as the source
of this story.
Mr Roach can be reached on (02) 9476 4710 or (0419) 263 170.
For a copy of the full article and/or permission to reproduce the text
partially or in full call Editor, Guy Nolch, on (03) 9500 0015 or Senior
Correspondent, Peter Pockley, on (02) 9660 6363.

Guy Nolch
Editor, Australasian Science
Box 2155 Wattletree Rd PO
VIC 3145 Australia
Phone 61-3-9500 0015
Fax 61-3-9500 0255
Web australasianscience.com.au

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