SYDNEY—Australia's scientific research establishments were among the winners in the country's national budget this year, details of which were unveiled by treasurer Peter Costello on Tuesday evening (May 11).

At the broadest level, the government promised to extend the 2001 program for science and innovation, “Backing Australia's Ability,” and set out an initial spending program of $3 billion AUD ($2.1 billion USD) until 2005. That plan's successor package provides $5.3 billion for the years between 2006 and 2011, Costello said this week.

The new money means that the peak level of spending due to be reached under the 2001 scheme will be sustained for another 5 years, giving the country's research community the chance to make longer-term plans.

“We were all facing this hideous cliff in 2005–2006,” Vicki Sara, chief executive officer of the Australian Research Council (ARC), told The Scientist. “What this budget has done is...

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