House debates

Monday, 9 November 2020

Questions without Notice


3:04 pm

Photo of Katie AllenKatie Allen (Higgins, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister please advise the House how the recent appointment of the new Chief Scientist will support the development of science as an enabler of industry to help drive our economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession?

3:05 pm

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

I intend to take every second of the three minutes available to me today to talk about science because nothing gets me as excited, quite frankly, than talking about science, and we have a fantastic story to sell here. On a very serious note, this year has been one like we have never ever experienced before. We have had to deal with bushfires, we're dealing with the COVID crisis now and, quite frankly, it's hard to imagine a year when Australians have ever been more aware of science and the need to engage with our science communities.

As we drive through this COVID recession, the role of our science community and of our researchers has never been more important. This morning I was absolutely delighted to join the Prime Minister as he announced Australia's new Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, a very distinguished applied physicist. She spent many years working for the CSIRO and, importantly, given science and technology are such key enablers of industry, she has spent a considerable amount of time working in manufacturing, looking at science and technology, and how manufacturing can be enabled through science and tech. She understands how important it is for science and research to collaborate with industry.

In her role as the incoming Chief Scientist, Dr Foley will be replacing Dr Alan Finkel at the end of this year. We do recognise his work and thank him for the contribution that he has made. Dr Cathy Foley will certainly be doing all that she can to ensure that science is a key part of driving our recovery through the COVID recession. We understand science on this side of the House. We in the government absolutely understand science. Let me say two things: in the budget, we committed an additional $460 million to the CSIRO; and we've also committed $1.6 billion more in funding to our science agencies than when Labor were last in government. Those opposite sit there and they try and make out that they are all for science. Well, quite frankly, I don't even think that they would know how to spell 'science'. (Time expired)