The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, has released Energy Research and Development in Australia 2008, a profile of Australia's expenditure in energy research and development (R&D).
Investment in R&D is essential to maintain Australia's international competitiveness as an energy producer, not only by creating greater cost efficiencies in extraction and improving processes to make Australia a more reliable supplier, but also by finding solutions to pressing energy issues related to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
In 2004-05, $987.57 million was spent on energy R&D. When the categories of 'prevention and treatment of pollution' associated with energy is included, the total increases a further $87.6 million to be more than $1,075 million.
"While Australia compares favourably against other OECD countries in some research fields, more needs to be done in the areas of applied and experimental energy research, which is where the Australian Government is making significant investments in essential R&D," said Minister Ferguson.
"We have allocated $150 million to the Energy Innovation Fund, $500 million to the Renewable Energy Fund and $500 million to the National Clean Coal Initiative.
"These investments – totalling more than $1 billion – show how serious we are in finding solutions to the pressing issues facing the energy sector and the wider community. They will also increase business confidence in making their own R&D decisions knowing that Government supports their efforts, especially in the field of renewable energy.
"At the same time, we will continue to invest in the resources sector, which includes mining, extraction, and the preparation and supply of energy resources materials.
"These programs provide incentive for researchers in all sectors to invest in energy R&D. The Australian Government recognises Australia's energy security, economic competitiveness and climate change response will depend on it," said Ferguson.
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