Response to 2023-24 Budget

Federal Budget: Greater investment for Australian innovation critical for a resilient, decarbonised economy

9 May 2023

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has welcomed measures for science and technology in the Federal Budget however calls for further strategy and investment to grow wealth and wellbeing by making Australia a global leader in research and innovation.

Time is of the essence for Australia to grow as a leading innovation nation, rapidly decarbonise our economy and become a global renewable energy powerhouse.

Kylie Walker, CEO of ATSE said innovation is the life-blood of economic, social, health and environmental progress. We have a timebound opportunity to bring together Australia’s ingenuity and abundant natural assets to truly leverage our renewable energy advantage.

“The figures released in April have shown a continued decline in research and development (R&D) spending with total government spending on R&D reaching a low of 0.49%,” said Kylie Walker.

“The Australian Research Council and the Universities Accord Reviews have shown that Australian research is in crisis and our potential to lead the world in renewable energy is being left largely untapped.

“We have abundant critical mineral wealth, we have exceptional leaders in research and innovation, and we have the chance to bring these together through advanced manufacturing to lead the world – but it requires vision, infrastructure and backing.

“In next year’s budget, we hope to see a commitment to lifting research funding to international competitive levels,” Kylie Walker said.

ATSE welcomes the new $392.4 million Industry Growth Fund which will provide an important partner fund with the Australian Economic Accelerator. This will continue to build a positive commercialisation environment and lead to more of Australia’s world class research becoming world class innovations.

“ATSE welcomes key climate change anouncements in the budget such as the National Net Zero Authority and Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Roadmap. However, decarbonising the economy must be stepped up if we are to meet Australia’s current climate commitments,” Kylie Walker said.

The Academy is disappointed in the $25 million reduction from the Global Science and Technology Diplomacy Fund. Research is a cooperative endeavour and Australia needs to take a leading role in working with its regional partners on global problems.  While other nations are increasing investment in international research collaboration, Australia’s leadership is more important than ever.

The Academy also welcomes the following measures announced in this Budget: 

  • $1 billion for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for energy efficient home upgrades 
  • $36.7 million over four years to develop further energy efficiency initiatives, including updating the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards program and Nationwide House Energy Rating scheme 
  • $2 billion for the new Hydrogen Headstart program 
  • $2 million over two years to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to engage with hydrogen project planning 
  • $18.1 million for reforms and auditing from the Independent Review of Carbon Credits 
  • $28 million over two years to develop Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment and a National Adaptation Plan 
  • $114.1 million over four years to deliver the Nature Positive Plan, including environmental protection, legislative reforms and developing the Nature Repair Market 
  • $101 million for critical technology industries including $20 million over four years to establish an Australian Centre for Quantum Growth, and $40 million to incentivise business uptake. 
  • $40 million for a National AI Centre and funding for businesses to adopt AI technologies 
  • $9m for STEM programs including the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), Science Meets Parliament, and Prime Minister’s Prize for Science 
  • $20.9 million over five years towards decarbonising transport and infrastructure, including developing a Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Roadmap and Action Plan 


Notes to media:

Kylie Walker is available for interview.

ATSE’s pre-budget submission can be found here.

Media contact: Edwyn Shiell – Director, Communications and Outreach | | 0402 254 968