The Federal Government’s first budget includes welcome measures focused on supporting a diverse, home-grown science and technology workforce and measures to support the low-emissions energy transition.
The Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has welcomed the allocation of $47.2 million over six years to encourage young people, especially women, to forge brighter careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions.
ATSE also welcomes the $13.5 million for developing Australia’s critical technology capability as part of the National Reconstruction Fund, as well as continued funding for the National Science and Technology Council.
Professor Hugh Bradlow FTSE, President of ATSE said “the budget contains welcome steps to future-proof Australian science and technology skills and jobs, and leverage greater diversity of talent and perspectives, which is essential to address urgent challenges.”
“The Academy is also pleased to see funding to establish a National Electric Vehicle Charging Network which is crucial to support the energy transition,” said Professor Bradlow.
“The Academy welcomes the $5.8 million for supporting women in STEM careers, including through the Women in STEM Entrepreneurship Grants (WISE), and looks forward to supporting the Government’s women in STEM program review.
“The additional $10 million for Questacon’s education and outreach work will also help make STEM more accessible to kids across the nation, particularly in regional and remote locations” said Professor Bradlow.
ATSE has also welcomed the decision to create 20,000 new university places in critical skill shortage areas, including engineering.
Professor Bradlow said “while this is a step in the right direction, large-scale action is needed to deliver the tens of thousands of engineers that will be needed to fulfil the Government’s ambitious and necessary decarbonisation and manufacturing agendas.”
ATSE’s new report Our STEM Skilled Future, to be released tomorrow, recommends that the Government works with industry to establish a National Engineering Council to advise on and help address skills shortages and improve diversity in engineering, as well as showcase engineering careers, to urgently increase the pipeline of future engineers.
In the next budget, ATSE hopes to see a decisive plan for increasing the number of STEM professionals, including engineers and the 1.2 million new tech jobs the Government has previously committed to.
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The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering is a Learned Academy of independent experts helping Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems.