Federal budget should drive productivity growth through R&D investment and ambitious climate targets

30 January 2024

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has called on the Australian Government to urgently increase research and development (R&D) in the next Federal budget or risk becoming a technological laggard.

Investment in R&D has hit a 30 year low, risking the economic growth and technological advancement direly needed to help Australia emerge from the cost-of-living crisis.

In its pre-budget submission, the Academy urged an increase to 3% of Gross Domestic (GDP), backed by a whole-of-government strategy that spans Australia’s entire research pipeline.

ATSE CEO, Kylie Walker said that science and innovation is the bedrock for a thriving and diverse economy productivity growth, and growing a skilled science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce.

“ATSE estimates to reach the target of 3% of GDP invested in R&D by 2035, we need an annual increase of approximately $2 billion from the Australian Government, supported by an industry investment of a further $2.4 billion annually,” said Kylie Walker.

“Staggered investment over the next ten years could bring us to 3% of GDP by 2035, placing us closer to global R&D leaders such as the United States, Japan, and Germany, and generate a return on the investment of an extra$133 billion for the Australian economy each year.

“A stronger commitment to R&D will also lift Australia’s economic complexity, which is currently ranked 93rd in the world – between Pakistan and Uganda. Inaction leaves us vulnerable to economic disruption, while comparable nations continue to strengthen their R&D investment.”

ATSE’s pre-budget submission also recommends that the Government sets a more ambitious target and establish a plan for reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, to spur innovation, galvanise industry action and drive investment in low emissions and renewable technologies.

“It’s critical we make up for lost time. Scientific consensus implores us to take far greater action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Decisive climate action today will avert catastrophic economic, environmental and social costs tomorrow. It will charge up Australia’s pathway to achieve its ambition of becoming a strong and successful exporter of clean energy and associated technologies, powering the global energy transition,” said Kylie Walker.

ATSE’s pre-budget submission is available online.

–– ENDS ––


ATSE CEO Kylie Walker is available for interview.

Media contacts

Alexandra Horvat, Communications Manager | | 0458892825

Adam Huttner-Koros, Communications Specialist | | 0468 520 373