House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Questions without Notice


3:02 pm

Photo of Llew O'BrienLlew O'Brien (Wide Bay, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister update the House on how the government's plan for a strong economy enables the government to recognise the outstanding work of Australian scientists? Is the minister aware of any different ideas?

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Wide Bay for his question and for his ongoing support of Australian scientists. As we have already heard, today we have in the gallery the winners of the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science. Again, I would like to congratulate them and let them know how proud we in this chamber are of the work that they have done, and how proud all Australians are of the work that they have done. Thank you very much for that.

The Prime Minister's Prizes for Science are a great opportunity for us to recognise not only the work of the prize winners but the work of Australian scientists. The room last night was full of scientists who have put a lifetime of work into their research areas and who are out there supporting the work that business needs, that the economy needs and that the government needs to make sure that we are growing and providing jobs for the future. As a government we are doing that by ensuring that we have a strong economy so that we can contribute the dollars that are needed to support research and infrastructure in this country.

Because the coalition has built a strong economy, we have been in a very strong position to announce in the budget earlier this year a $2.4 billion commitment over 12 years to Australia's research, science and technology capabilities. This includes, importantly, $41 million to establish the Australian Space Agency, which will grow our space sector, which currently stands at about a $3.9 billion contribution to our economy, with about 10,000 workers employed in that sector.

In the period up to 2030, the coalition are working to make sure that we build the Space Agency and we build the space sector so that space provides a $12 billion commitment to the Australian economy and up to 20,000 jobs. That is an outstanding contribution from science to the economy, and that is only able to be made because the coalition have been able to build our economy so strongly.

Now, whilst we are focused on the economy, we are also focused on making sure that we are developing a pipeline of people who are going to be able to take up the jobs of the future. And, in so doing, we are injecting money into developing STEM capability in Australia for all Australians, and particularly for women in STEM. So we will, as a government, continue to build our capability in science, technology, engineering and maths so that our young people have every opportunity to go into rewarding and fulfilling jobs of the future.