Skills and climate science a focus for Budget Reply

Measures to support the future science- and
technology-skilled workforce and a commitment to action on climate change were
welcome highlights of the Opposition’s Budget Reply speech, but Science &
Technology Australia lamented the lack of detail on investment in the
nation’s knowledge economy.

Bill Shorten speaks to Parliament

“Labor’s commitment to support access to universities by
removing caps on undergraduate places would enable universities to train more
people in science – with their requirement for specialist equipment and
technical staff, these degrees tend to be more costly to deliver,” said STA
President Professor Emma Johnston AO.

“We know that jobs requiring STEM skills are forecast to be
the fastest growing sector of the economy for the next decade and beyond.

“STA also welcomes the Opposition’s plan to invest more in
school education and boost vocational education and training (VET), which plays
an important role in building the IT- and engineering-ready future workforce.”

STA looks forward to hearing how Labor plans to realise its
promise of “real action on climate change”.

“Embracing renewables is an important start but it’s not
possible to take real action on climate change without investment in the
solution-making sector that is our best and strongest hope when it comes to
climate change: science,” Professor Johnston said.

“It was disappointing that the Budget Reply speech lacked
reference to a visionary investment in creating new knowledge and translating
it to the benefit of Australia’s health, wealth, and environmental wellbeing.

“With a commitment from Shadow Minister for Innovation,
Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, to revive the Education Investment Fund, we hope to see a bold
and detailed approach to science and technology policy once the election is
called.”

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