Monday, 8 February 2016
Questions without Notice
National Innovation and Science Agenda
My question is to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. Will the minister update the House on some of the science, technology, engineering and maths initiatives being delivered by the government as a result of the National Innovation and Science Agenda?
I would like to thank the member for Deakin for his question, because I know he is very interested in the policies of the government around encouraging young people into science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. As we all know, an estimated 75 per cent of jobs in the fastest growing industries require STEM skilled workers, so we have to ensure that the students of the future, the workers of the future, have the skills necessary to be able to compete not only in Australia but around the world. So as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, which the Prime Minister and I announced last December, we are putting tremendous effort and resources into growing science, technology, engineering and maths in schools. In fact, we are putting about $100 million into it.
Today, ACT Senator Zed Seselja, the Prime Minister and I went out to the Mother Teresa Early Learning Centre at Harrison and announced $8 million as part of that amount of money for support for Little Scientists and for Let's Count. Let's Count is run by the Smith family. It is designed to support disadvantaged families who want their children to have the chance to learn mathematics and to count from the earliest age, just as many people in much better-off households expect.
Ms MacTiernan interjecting—
It is a real measure of our equity and about supporting capacity in households for children to learn how to count, which I would have thought the member for Perth would have thought was a good idea, but apparently the member for Perth does not think it is a good idea.
Ms MacTiernan interjecting—
The other part of the announcement was the Little Scientists program—$4 million—run by the Froebel association from Germany. It is a program that is designed to support teachers around digital literacy so that teachers have the necessary skills, the necessary capacity, to impart the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths to their charges in classes around Australia. We have an element that is supporting families and students and an element that is supporting teachers and students, all with the objective of growing science, technology, engineering and maths in our schools and in our society. The National Innovation and Science Agenda will support the economy of the future, which is not just to be able to rely on mining, agriculture, tourism, resources or international education but to recognise that we are a modern economy that requires a combination of factors that will make us have jobs and growth, and innovation and science are a big part of that.
Today we put another down payment on the National Innovation and Science Agenda. We will continue to do so right through to the future, because we know how important it is for our students.