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. 
  2. ^ "Innovation Plan". ABC Radio National broadcast. 2001-02-03. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  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". 2001-01-29. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  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 2007-02-07. 
  5. ^ "Science and Innovation Committee". Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  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 2007-02-02. 
  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 2007-02-02. 
  8. ^ "Science gets $5.3b new spending". The Age. 2004-05-06. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  9. ^ Jason Koutsoukis (2004-05-07). "Flak for PM's innovation policy". The Age. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 

External links[edit]