House debates

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Questions without Notice

Industry, Science and Technology

2:56 pm

Photo of Trent ZimmermanTrent Zimmerman (North Sydney, Liberal 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 is helping to grow our industry and science sectors through smart investments and a strong economy? What are the alternatives to this approach?

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

I thank the member for his question. It gives me a wonderful opportunity to speak about this Liberal-National government's economic management and the fact that, because we have grown such a strong economy, we are in a good position to be able to invest in industry, science, innovation and technology. We are already investing $9.6 billion in science, research and technology, and we are building on that with the announcement that was in the budget earlier this week. We are going to make sure that we are able to grow the economy, that we are going to be able to continue to invest in science, research and technology, and that we are delivering for the jobs of the future.

We announced this week a further $166 million for some smart investments in our industry and science sectors. Let me start with the $15.1 million that we have committed to fund for Questacon. We will be expanding their education outreach, because we understand how important it is for our young children, particularly those who are in regional Australia, to have access to science education. Of course Questacon is one Australia's icons in the work that it has done over many years to inspire our young Australians. We need that, because we know that 75 per cent of the jobs of the future are going to require skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. We know that currently there are not enough students in years 9, 10, 11 and 12 studying those subjects to equip them for the jobs of the future. So that is a $15.1 million investment in Questacon to enable them to continue their outreach in science education.

We are investing $3.6 million in the Innovation Games, to make sure that university students and graduates have the chance to apply their skills to real-world problems and to solve challenges for small businesses. We are providing $3.4 million for STEM gender equity in Australia, because we know that women are underrepresented in the STEM fields. And, of course, this is the government that has committed to the space sector here in Australia. We have committed over $300 million to the space sector. We have built on that in this year's budget. We're committing more funding to a space infrastructure fund and we're establishing a space discovery centre because we know that we can grow the space sector. We can triple it in size by 2030. There will be $12 billion and an extra 20,000 jobs.