[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
debt.
 
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
funding!²
 
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CONTACTS: 
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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