The Rudd Government is introducing a comprehensive national framework to guide the safe development of new technologies such as nanotechnology and biotechnology as part of a $38.2 million National Enabling Technologies Strategy released today.
"Technologies like nanotechnology and biotechnology have enormous potential, but we can only realise that potential with the community's support," said Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr.
"Health, safety and environmental protection are paramount for the Government. This strategy is about ensuring we meet the highest standards while at the same time maximising opportunities to develop these cutting-edge technologies.
"The responsible development of enabling technologies will support new industries, new export opportunities and, most importantly, new jobs.
"These technologies promise to give us breakthrough medicines, faster computers, new biofuels, stronger and lighter materials, better solar cells, more abundant and nutritious food, purer water, and much more besides.
"They will be worth trillions in the years ahead. It is essential that Australia has a stake in this market."
The strategy provides a comprehensive national framework with three funding components:
- $10.6 million to support policy and regulatory development, industry uptake, international engagement and strategic research;
- $9.4 million for public awareness and community engagement to increase understanding of enabling technologies; and
- $18.2 million for the National Measurement Institute to improve measurement infrastructure, standards and expertise and ensure that Australia leads the way internationally.
A Stakeholder Advisory Council will advise on implementation of the strategy, and an Expert Forum for Enabling Technologies will monitor emerging trends.
"The strategy will help ensure that balanced, factual information is easily accessible to the community and industry. It will also deliver nationally consistent measures to promote the uptake of these technologies, which offer Australian industry a sustainable future."
The strategy is part of the Rudd Government's $1.1 billion Super Science Initiative.