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Old 17-06-2024, 09:48 AM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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The future of Australian Astronomy and ESO

My brother in law John Soderbaum is the Science and Technology Director at ACILL ALLEN and has just completed an extensive report on the appropriateness, efficiency, effectiveness, and early impacts of the Access to World Leading Astronomy Infrastructure (AWLAI) program.

It's a promising evaluation for the future, for Australian Astronomy.

The Report is HERE

Cheers

Mike
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Old 17-06-2024, 11:55 AM
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OMG I just read this report.

Your brother-in-law is clearly no dud.

But this is a sublime example of how rooms full of bureaucrats waste taxpayer funds on scales that are hard to comprehend.

I did some digging

This report was part of a consulting initiative which cost…wait for it…$A305 million!

To give this some perspective, the 3.9 metre Anglo-Australian Telescope cost a paltry $11 million.

More recently the Murchison Radio Telescope (MRT) array was a cheap $51 million.

So we now we have a spiffy mission statement that cost 6x the price of the MRT.

So what did we get for our near third of a BILLION bucks? I rather like this gem below:

Statement:
Australia’s draft National Science and Research Priorities were released for consultation in September 2023.86 The draft priorities did not specifically refer to astronomy research, however ACIL Allen did not identify any elements in the draft priorities that would preclude Australia from acceding to ESO.

Translation:
Australia’s science research goals do not prioritise astronomy research.

Its research priorities, however do not prevent investigations into, say, why do canines lick their gonads?

ACILL Allen must be laughing all the way to the bank while salivating for another juicy government consultancy.

P.S. I have corrected the spend comment, but, seriously, this wreaks of "Yes Minister" and the hospital with no patients

Last edited by Peter Ward; 18-06-2024 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 17-06-2024, 09:43 PM
Leo.G (Leo)
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Quote:
Its research priorities, however do not prevent investigations into, say, why do canines lick their gonads?

I got told once "because they can!"
But it has to be worth a few measly millions of dollars of tax payer money to get a better answer?
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Old 17-06-2024, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
OMG

This report cost…wait for it…$A305 million!



Wow - it seems the richest people just sell words.
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Old 17-06-2024, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo.G View Post
I got told once "because they can!"
But it has to be worth a few measly millions of dollars of tax payer money to get a better answer?


Sadly the initiative really did cost $305 million for this sage advice: engaging with the ESO would be not bad policy and by the way, to state the bleedin' obvious, yes dogs can.

Seriously. $305 million.

P.S.
ACIL and Co Received $8.6 million for government consulting in 2023. It is not clear how much of that went into the ESO
report....which has more gems like "the AAO is no longer world class" ...yep... real value for money right there....

Last edited by Peter Ward; 19-06-2024 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 18-06-2024, 12:19 PM
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Hmm, that sounds bizarre Peter. Can you post the source of the cost? I'm just wondering if you're referencing a consultancy register that most likely reports the total value of consultancies for all projects for the department. If you're right, it is indeed an 'astronomical' waste of $$$$
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Old 18-06-2024, 04:40 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Sheesh, what a weird, almost deranged response.

I'd prefer not to give any oxygen to such hysterical, obviously wrong claims, designed to stir the pot and which, as Simon has easily detected are out by several orders of magnitude, I suspect its just a rookie error?

Hopefully others have read through the report and found some of it interesting rental costs to use an 8m telescope are certainly out of most of our reaches

Mike
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Old 18-06-2024, 05:53 PM
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ACIL Allen are doing just fine from the Department of industry

This is where I found their link

Admittedly it isn't clear just how much of that consultancy fee from the
Industry Growth Centres Initiative was spent looking at the ESO...but the $305 million was still spent on "consulting".
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Old 18-06-2024, 06:20 PM
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For clarity, both the latest interpretation and the original rant are completely incorrect, the $305 Million was spent on the Industry Growth Centres Initiative (IGCI) program, by the government, from its inception and not on the consulting!

The report I have shared was NOT $305 Million, nowhere near that and to claim such is a gross slanderous misrepresentation.

Mike
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Old 18-06-2024, 06:28 PM
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On a separate matter even the Feds have
realised their consultancy spend is out of hand

When Sydney's second airport was being mooted as being somewhere other than
Badgerys Creek there was the genuinely deranged proposal of putting it in Holsworthy Reserve, right next to the Woronora Reservoir.

I subsequently authored a report that was tabled in the Federal Parliament no less (and it is in Hansard) by my local MP at the time. Not bad for a rookie

It was an afternoon's work.

Much of what I had highlighted was later repeated
by a consultancy company Russ PPK. They charged $2 million for that!
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Old 19-06-2024, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
The report I have shared was NOT $305 Million, nowhere near that and to claim such is a gross slanderous misrepresentation.

Mike
Glad I helped clarify things Mike. And still waiting for an actual apology I see. Maybe the perfect illustration of the Peter Principle!

Time for me to dehorn some goats...
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Old 19-06-2024, 10:43 AM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimmoW View Post
Glad I helped clarify things Mike. And still waiting for an actual apology I see. Maybe the perfect illustration of the Peter Principle!

Time for me to dehorn some goats...
I just hope this palava has encouraged more people to read the report

Mike
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