2004 – Backing Australia’s Ability II and 2004-05 Budget Measures

Attachment: CAPA Paper

On Thursday 6th May 2004 the government announced Backing Australia’s Ability II (BAA II), a science and innovation funding and policy package extending on the similar 2001 package, Backing Australia’s Ability. The original package was due to expire in 2005, and the new package extends many of the original programs within Backing Australia’s Ability to 2011, as well as adding a number of new programs.

On May 11, the Treasurer released the 2004-05 federal budget. This budget contains funding figures for the BAA II package, but does not offer any unexpected funding for higher education. The budget contains some elements of passing interest, including the government’s revenue expectations for the student loans scheme, Fee-HELP, announced in 2003 as part of Backing Australia’s Future. During 2003 the government conducted an extensive review of the Knowledge and Innovation (K & I) research and research education policy and funding package announced in 1999 and implemented from 2001.

K & I contains the bulk of policy and funding mechanisms for postgraduate education, including the Research Training Scheme (RTS). CAPA had hoped that announcements about any changes to the RTS, and other elements of K & I, would be made with the announcement of BAA II, or with the release of the 2004 budget. While the Minister for Education has given a few hints about what is to come, no full details have yet been released.

This briefing paper is preliminary, as the package will take some time to consider fully. It overviews:

  • Backing Australia’s Ability II;
  • announcements made so far about changes to K & I, and
  • other issues pertaining to higher education to be found in the 2004-05 budget papers.

There are few programs within BAA II which will affect or benefit postgraduates.