The preparation of the background report was undertaken by the Australian Department of Science and not by the OECD Secretariat, which is the normal procedure. This compilation, describing the functions and structures of the various organisations of Australia concerned with scientific research or its application will, in a revised form, accompany the examiners report. It was prepared with the help of many government agencies, both federal and state, universities, industrial firms and other bodies. It is the first comprehensive account of the Australian scientific scene and, as such, may well have justified the whole exercise.
The visit of the three examiners was somewhat longer than in most previous reviews. We held discussions with more than fifty groups representing federal government departments and agencies, several universities, various boards and commissions, industrial firms, academies and professional groupings, representatives of medical research and the trade unions. In addition, we had the opportunity for discussion with officials in two of the Australian States, New South Wales and Victoria, during which we were able to put questions to representatives of a wide range of State bodies concerned with the application of research. We very much regret that time did not permit us to visit other parts of the country to deepen our appreciation of the problems raised by the rich variety of environments which Australia possesses.