SOMEWHERE nationally, research hopefuls have been left high and dry after the government withdrew $12.7 million in funding for a new lab.
In the run-up to the August federal election, the Prime Minister removed the funds -- aimed at establishing an information and communications technology (ICT) research lab -- to pay for election commitments.
"Federal Labor will no longer proceed with a possible contribution to the establishment of an ICT-enabled laboratory," Department of Finance documents show.
"This will save $12.7m over the forward estimates." The funding would cover four years: $700,000 in 2010-11; $2.3m in 2011-12; $4.1m in 2012-13 and $5.6m in 2013-14.
The funding came under the Minister for Innovation, Kim Carr, but his office has refused repeated requests to identify who had lost the funding. It is also unclear in which state the lab was to be situated. Representatives from the CSIRO and National ICT Australia say it was not intended for them.
Senator Carr's spokeswoman ruled out SAP's Living Lab as the funding recipient, but when pressed for further details, she said: "We have nothing further to add at this point."
The opposition has attacked the Gillard minority government for its lack of transparency, a virtue the Prime Minister was keen to espouse when wooing three powerful independent MPs who had Labor's future in their hands.
In response to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's well-documented election costings saga, on August 27, Ms Gillard said: "From the government's point of view, can I very clearly say this: the government is happy to be transparent about its election policy costings, the election policy costings as checked by Treasury, and the impact of the government's election policies on the budget bottom line."
Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb said the Gillard government said one thing and did another.