Temporary Work (Skilled) visa subclass 457 scrapped

This week, the Prime Minister announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa program will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years and will support businesses ‘in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.’

There is a steady exchange of researchers and related occupations between Australia and overseas countries. While 457 visas are not the only visa class used to being researchers to Australia, it has been an important part of the exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge. Some of the occupations that have been removed from the 457 visa class are:

  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Life Scientist (General)
  • Life Scientist (Not elsewhere classified)
  • Nurse researcher
  • Research and Development Manager

Are you affected in recruiting scientific workers from overseas? Or will this impact existing collaborations with overseas researchers? Alternatively, do you think this will encourage new on-shore opportunities for Australian early and mid-career scientists?

Research Australia is keen to hear from you about what effect this could have on you and your organisation. Please contact Head of Policy, Greg Mullins via email greg.mullins@researchaustralia.org or phone (03) 9662 9420.

More information is available here.

National Science Statement

Yesterday the Australian government launched the National Science Statement, outlining its commitment to science as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

This comes in advance of the 2030 Strategic Plan for Innovation, Science and Research, with Innovation and Science Australia commissioned by the government to review Australia’s performance in science and innovation, and develop a plan through to 2030.

Research Australia welcomes the Statement’s long-term approach to science in Australia; in particular, the explicit references to secure and sustainable investment and recognition of the role of research as a central contributor to GDP.  Continue reading “National Science Statement”

Themes and Priorities for the CRC Programme

CRCs have played a key role in the translation of Australian health and medical research. Research Australia’s response to the Government’s consultation on Themes and Priorities for the CRC Programme took the opportunity to advocate for the reinstatement of Public Good CRCs, which are specifically excluded by the most recent Guidelines for the CRC Programme.

Research Australia’s Submission – CRC Themes Consultation

Electronic Health Records

The Australian Government has consulted on changes to the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system, including moving to an opt out system, which creates the prospect of a much higher take up of the system and much greater utility to researchers in the future. While there is no proposed change to current arrangements in relation to research, the review offers the opportunity to influence how the system can be used for research purposes. Research Australia has supported the move to an opt out system, and has made a number of recommendations, including amending the legislation to allow identified data to be provided for data linking with other data sources for research purposes, and the indefinite retention of health records as a important resource for longitudinal research.

Electronic Health Records

Assessing the wider benefits of university based research

In June 2013 the Australian Government issued a consultation paper seeking views on a proposal to assess the wider benefits of university based research. The paper proposed that a pilot exercise be undertaken in 2014 using case studies and quantitative data, and sought input on its design. Research Australia made a submission, urging a small scale ‘experimental’ approach using existing data to the greatest extent possible to test the feasibility and value of measuring research impact in this manner.

Assessing the wider benefits of university based research

Pharmaceutical Patents Review Draft Report

In October 2012, the Australian Government announced a review of pharmaceutical patents, including the provisions for extending the terms of eligible pharmaceutical patents. The Review has issued a draft report with a number of interim findings and recommendations. Research Australia has made a submission to the Review, emphasising the important role that pharmaceutical patents play in encouraging innovation and competition, and the importance of providing a level of protection that is consistent with our collaborators in pharmaceutical development in the USA and Europe. Research Australia has also emphasised the important distinction between paying a drug company for its innovation by buying drugs under patent, and providing public funding for research.

Pharmaceutical Patents Review Draft Report