ADJOURNMENT – Australian Synchrotron: funding – Thursday, 26 May 2011

Posted on 15. Jun, 2011 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business. I ask that she take all necessary action to ensure the reallocation of the ongoing funding for Victoria’s world‑class synchrotron facility in my electorate of Clayton.

I draw the attention of the house to the widespread and serious concerns of our hardworking and highly respected scientific community at the state government’s failure to allocate funding in this budget for the synchrotron. These people are disappointed and astounded by the government’s decision, as they expected the government to build on and consolidate what the Labor government has already put in place instead of taking such destructive action. Their anger is real and profound, and there is no telling what is going to happen tomorrow when the parliamentary delegation, which has been organised by the Speaker and the President, visits the site. I cannot imagine a more ironic and cynical situation unfolding.

Victoria’s international reputation as a research and innovation hub will be undermined because of the Baillieu government’s funding cut. Industries such as engineering, mining, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications, as well as medical research, will no longer be able to make use of the highly valuable intense beams of light produced by the synchrotron. Recently Monash University’s Professor James Whisstock managed to use the synchrotron’s radiation to successfully make discoveries about a molecule crucial to the human body’s defence against infections and disease. That is just one of the important breakthroughs that occur at the Australian Synchrotron. Based in Clayton, the state‑of‑the‑art research facility employs some 120 highly skilled staff and supports the work of 2500 scientists. Now those scientists will have to pack their suitcases and go overseas to process their research.

Over the period of five years since the synchrotron’s opening, scientific discoveries of world significance have been made at this centre. Apart from scientific significance, extraordinary economic value can be achieved by applications that take advantage of the synchrotron’s beam.

We can no longer compete with countries like China and India in traditional manufacturing industries, but our cutting‑edge technology, like the synchrotron, still puts us ahead of the pack. This government is responsible for cutting the scientific and economic throat of Victoria. I implore the minister to restore funding as a matter of urgency and as a mark of respect for this exceptional project.

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