Backing Australia's Ability

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Backing Australia's Ability (BAA) was a five-year innovation plan launched by the Howard Government in January 2001.[1][2]

Previous policy[edit]

Previous policies for this group of portfolios under the Howard Government were:

  • Investing for Growth, December 1997 [1] (ISBN 0-642-28095-9) increased support for business innovation by providing $1.26 billion over the four years from 1998–99, including additional funding for R&D grants, venture capital and technology diffusion.
  • Knowledge and Innovation, December 1999 [2] announced a new policy and funding framework for higher education research and research training.

Science and Innovation Committee[edit]

The Science and Innovation Committee (SIC), originally known as the Ministerial Committee to Oversight Implementation of Backing Australia's Ability (MCOIBAA), is a sub-committee of Cabinet established as part of the initiative to oversee the implementation of Backing Australia's Ability.[3][4] It is composed of:[5]

An Innovation Action Plan for the Future[edit]

The initiative set aside AUD 2.9 billion over five years 2001–02 to 2005–06, overseen by a Science and Innovation Ministerial Council, chaired by the Prime Minister and advised by the Chief Scientist.[6]

The objectives were:[1]

  • an additional $736 million for Australian Research Council competitive grants, doubling funding by 2005–06
  • an additional $583 million for research infrastructure
  • an additional $176 million for world class centres of excellence in information and communications technology and biotechnology
  • providing $155 million to support investments in major national research facilities
  • $535 million over five years for the R&D Start Program
  • reforming the R&D tax concession
    • a premium rate of 175 per cent for additional R&D activity
    • a tax rebate for small companies
  • an additional $227 million for the Cooperative Research Centres Program, and encouraging greater access by small and medium enterprises
  • an additional $151 million to universities, to create 2000 additional university places each year, with priority given to ICT, mathematics and science – to be backed by adjustments to existing immigration arrangements to attract more migrants with ICT skills
  • $130 million to foster scientific, mathematical and technological skills and innovation in government schools in those States where the Enrolment Benchmark Adjustment (EBA) is triggered.
  • $246 million for a new Systemic Infrastructure Initiative, to upgrade the basic infrastructure of universities, such as scientific and research equipment, libraries and laboratory facilities

Building our future through science and innovation[edit]

On 4 May 2004 the Prime Minister announced a second plan, subtitled "Building our future through science and innovation", which is referred to as "BAA2".[7]

The objectives were:[7][8][9]

  • $1 billion for a new Commercial Ready programme
  • $542 million for a new National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy
  • an additional $305 million for CSIRO National Research Flagships
  • an additional $200 million for National Health and Medical Research Council to assist independent medical research institutions
  • an additional $100 million or the Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) programme
  • $38.8 million for a new Maths, Science and Innovation Teaching initiative that will involve research bodies and undergraduates in primary and secondary school classes
  • $7.2 million to co-ordinate and focus research in support of Australia's counter-terrorism needs

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Commonwealth of Australia (January 2001). Backing Australia's Ability: An Innovation Action Plan for the Future. ISBN 0-642-72133-5, ISR 2000/223. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
  2. ^ "Innovation Plan". ABC Radio National broadcast. 3 February 2001. Archived from the original on 11 March 2005. Retrieved 2 February 2007.
  3. ^ "Transcript of the Prime Minister The Hon. John Howard MP, Federation address and launch of the 'Backing Australia's Ability', Australian Technology Park Centre, Sydney". 29 January 2001. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2007.
  4. ^ "Public-Private Partnerships for Research and Innovation: An evaluation off the Australian Experience" (PDF). OECD. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 December 2006. Retrieved 7 February 2007.
  5. ^ "Science and Innovation Committee". Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2007.
  6. ^ "Backing Australia's Ability – An Innovation Action Plan for the Future 2001". Press Release, Australian Government. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Backing Australia's Ability, Building our future through science and innovation". Press Release, Australian Government. 4 May 2004. Archived from the original on 3 October 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2007.
  8. ^ "Science gets $5.3b new spending". The Age. 6 May 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2007.
  9. ^ Jason Koutsoukis (7 May 2004). "Flak for PM's innovation policy". The Age. Retrieved 2 February 2007.

External links[edit]