Research Peter robbed to pay Paul

Last year, the government gave the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy a year’s extra funding, tying the $150 million price tag to its controversial higher education reforms.


In Tuesday’s budget it gave the 1700 researchers who rely on the program another year’s reprieve with a second $150 million allocated for 2016/17.

But the Sustainable Research Excellence grants take a $150 million haircut in the same year to pay for this, and lose another $112.5 million over the following two years.

The government’s also cutting nearly $27 million from co-operative research centres and $131 million from the education department.

Funding for The Conversation, a website publishing columns and research by Australian academics, won’t continue past this financial year.

Meanwhile, the government intends pushing on with its plan to overhaul higher education and bank the savings.

“We are absolutely determined to put it back to the Senate,” Treasurer Joe Hockey told reporters in Canberra of the twice-rejected package.


* No mention about the future of university fee deregulation.

* Extend National Collaborative Research Infrastructure funding for one more year at cost of $150 million

* Cut $150 million from Sustainable Research Excellence grants funding to redirect to research infrastructure

* Cut $131 million from education department, including abolishing the internal Office of Learning and Teaching and set it up at a university instead

* Cut $26.7 million from co-operative research centres

* Pursue HECS debts from people who move overseas, saving $26 million over four years

* $4 million to establish Bjorn Lomborg’s Australia Consensus Centre think tank