Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has welcomed the Government’s decision to accept the recommendations of the Review of the Australian Research Council Act (ARC Act).
Senator Faruqi said:
“This is a victory for the research community and the Greens, who have long called for the ARC to be given autonomy to make decisions over research grants.
“It's good to see that Labor, who rejected a bill I introduced back in 2018 to stop political interference in the ARC, has finally accepted the need for the ARC to be given autonomy to make decisions over research grants.
“Board appointments will remain a matter for the Minister, so there must be strict guidelines to ensure the Board’s membership is composed of a diverse range of academics and members of the research community and there are no corporate or political appointments.
“Ending political interference in the ARC is key to a thriving and independent research sector, but so is sufficient funding, which the Government has so far failed to address in both the ARC Review and the Universities Accord.
“Australian research has so much potential, but will never reach its full potential without substantial, long-term public funding. The Government must immediately commit to an increase in research funding.
“We also desperately need better working conditions for researchers who are struggling to stay afloat in this cost of living crisis on a stipend that sits below the poverty line.
“At a bare minimum, researchers deserve a generous, liveable research stipend and a full entitlement to paid parental leave.
“University funding is vital if we are to solve the complex and wicked problems of the climate crisis, inequality, global justice and health emergencies amongst others.”