Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Questions without Notice
Indigenous Employment, Indigenous Advancement Strategy
My question is for the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Scullion. Given that it is National Science Week this week, could the minister please advise what the coalition government is doing to support more Indigenous Australians, particularly Indigenous women, into the STEM industries—sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics—and, of course, the industries of the future?
I thank the senator for her question. How fantastic it is to receive a question this week, during National Science Week, about our new investments in STEM! Careers in the sciences, technology, engineering and maths—more commonly known as STEM—are clearly the careers of the future. I'm very proud to be part of a government that has made innovation and science its top priority. We're all benefitting from the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda but, because we are trying to close a 200-year-old gap in a few short years so we can get more people off the misery of welfare and into the dignity of work, we are making targeted investments in our First Australians through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
Last year, on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, the Prime Minister announced the $138 million Indigenous Education Package. As part of that investment, we recently announced the $25 million Indigenous Girls' STEM Academy, making sure that Indigenous girls and women who have an interest in STEM can make a career in what has traditionally been a male dominated area. The Indigenous Girls' STEM Academy will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to pursue careers in STEM. The academy is a $25 million long-term investment from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy that will guide over 1,000 girls and young women through high school and support them through university and into a job in a STEM profession.
The academy, a joint partnership between CSIRO and CareerTrackers, will nurture a passion for STEM and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women with things like ongoing individual student support, summer school and, importantly, work placement with industry leaders. As part of this, we are investing $5 million in the Stronger Smarter Institute for scholarships to support more Indigenous STEM teachers. We know having more Indigenous STEM teachers means we will encourage more Indigenous STEM students. (Time expired)
Innovation, underpinned by STEM skills, is going to be the driving force for Australia's continued prosperity, creating new and exciting career opportunities in the coming decades. Jobs will be created in fields and industries that we haven't dreamt of yet. STEM skill sets will open doors to those innovative Australian opportunities.
When I launched this great new initiative, I had the great honour of meeting Kamilaroi woman and astrophysicist Karlie Noon. She's not only a trailblazer and, in fact, an incredibly inspiring and accomplished scientist in her own right but also a champion for all Indigenous women in science. At the launch of this new STEM academy, she said:
Having someone in my corner to guide me when I was unsure of my path gave me the strength to continue my studies and to believe in myself.
That's exactly what this government is doing. A $25 million STEM investment will mean many more Indigenous women can follow in Karlie's footsteps. (Time expired)
We're investing in a $5 billion commitment to deliver locally led, locally designed, locally controlled services, primarily through Indigenous owned and run organisations and communities across Australia. Our investments are ensuring that children are attending school, adults are in work and communities are safe. This is ensuring record numbers of our First Australians can access world-class education. We've invested more than $400 million so that 25,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can stay engaged in school and receive training. Indigenous students are taking on higher education. Through the $68 million Indigenous Student Success Program, another 18,000 Indigenous students are assisted through scholarships, tutorial assistance, mentoring and other support services. We're able to make these important investments because this government has brought the budget back under control, and now we can actually invest in things that are important to Australia. (Time expired)