On 28 March 2018, the Commonwealth Parliament introduced the Australian Astronomical Observatory (Transition) Bill 2018 (Cth) (‘the Bill’). The Bill is for the purpose of giving effect to the Government’s 2017-18 budget measure ‘Maintaining Australia’s Optical Astronomy Capability’, which transfers the Australian Astronomical Observatory's (AAO's) scientific roles and expertise from the government to the research sector. The Bill aims to make provision for the purpose of retention of the AAO's scientific capabilities and expertise in the research sector, delivery of AAO commitments to national and global astronomy communities and support for the Australia-European Southern Observatory (ESO) Strategic Partnership.
In thethat the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda would be built upon further through investment in optical astronomy infrastructure. The Government announced that it had commissioned a 2030 Strategic Plan and a Research Infrastructure Investment Plan. The Strategic Plan is to be developed by Innovation and Science Australia and the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan will be developed by the Government, Innovation and Science Australia, Commonwealth Science Council, and the community.
The main amendments of the Bill are to:
David Coleman, Assistant Minister for Finance, stated in his second reading speech in the House of Representatives that the new measures were for the purpose of change and growth for Australian optical astronomy. He stated:
Mr Coleman also noted the importance of retaining the partnership with the European Southern Observatory, saying:
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Australian Astronomical Observatory (Transition) Bill 2018 (Cth), second reading speech and explanatory memorandum, as published on TimeBase Lawone.
Budget 2017-18, ‘.'
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