Barnaby Joyce’s announcement today that the Queensland grains industry will receive $14.3 million over five years is another sign of desperation by the Abbott Government to shore up votes in Queensland.
While Labor supports funding to the grains industry, today’s announcement pales in significance compared to the Abbott Government’s Research & Development cuts.
• $80 million from Cooperative Research Centres
• $115 million from the CSIRO – the biggest job losses to the organisation in history
• $11 million from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
• $7 million of R&D Commonwealth matching dollars cut from Rural Research and Development Corporations announced in the May Budget.
Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce are fooling no-one by this panicked announcement which has circumvented the normal funding process for R&D projects.
Prior to the 2013 election the Abbott Government promised an additional $100 million in new R&D funding but has failed to actually deliver one additional cent of new money for R&D projects.
The Abbott Government’s lack of policy direction and this ad-hoc approach to R&D funding has put R&D projects at risk and the Australian agricultural sector at a disadvantage.