Submission to the Treasury

Submission to the 2024-25 pre-budget consultation



The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) is a Learned Academy of independent, non-political experts helping Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems. Bringing together Australia’s leading thinkers in applied science, technology and engineering, ATSE provides impartial, practical and evidence-based advice on how to achieve sustainable solutions and advance prosperity.

Innovation is the fundamental source of economic and social progress and is an essential part of maintaining a strong and prosperous nation. Australia’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) sector provides an essential basis for our nation’s innovation. The 2024- 25 Federal Budget presents an opportunity for Australia to bridge the gap for STEM skills and digital literacy advancement, enhance the resilience and sustainability of our waters, support deployment of the renewable energy of tomorrow, and build a strong and stable economy. To be at the forefront of international innovation, Australia must establish a solid foundation in world-class science and technology through the encouragement of research translation and collaboration across sectors.

In this submission, ATSE provides a series of recommendations to build Australia’s ability to respond to our nation’s challenges and harness its opportunities. Throughout, ATSE highlights opportunities to address the critical needs of the STEM sector right now, foster a strong STEM ecosystem into the future, and deploy STEM to help tackle the biggest challenge facing Australia, climate change. Some of these recommendations require urgent action and should be implemented by the Australian Government immediately to maximise national benefit. To support the Treasury’s assessment of the urgency of these recommendations, ATSE has grouped recommendations into three categories, “Immediate Action Recommendations”, “Optimising Recommendations” and “System Recommendations”.



  • Increase research and development funding to 3% of GDP.
  • Deliver a whole-of-government research funding strategy that covers the entire research pipeline, from curiosity-driven research to support for research application and commercialisation.
  • Deliver an action and investment plan for a more ambitious target of reaching net zero greenhouse gasses by 2035, in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.


  • Improve integration of vocational education with high schools and the university sector. Decarbonise households by enhancing national building standards, increase incentives for energy-efficient upgrades by homeowners, and work with states to improve energy efficiency in public housing.
  • Support the Elevate: Boosting women in STEM program to enable more diverse women and nonbinary people to enter and thrive in the STEM workforce sooner.
  • Prioritise economically viable large decarbonisation investments, especially clean energy hubs to catalyse value-added processing and manufacturing from Australia’s natural resources.
  • Target manufacturing grants and incentives toward waste avoidance or minimisation and the sustainable use of recycled content.
  • Increase investment in energy research and development across the innovation chain; prioritise this research, and incentivise its translation by expanding commitments for low-emission technologies in high-emission sectors.


  • Create and fund the management of a transparent national framework for greenhouse gas accounting and monitoring in infrastructure, require all new federally funded infrastructure projects to submit a publicly available greenhouse gas budget and empower Infrastructure Australia to assess these budgets.
  • Develop, invest in and implement a comprehensive AI education program in Australian classrooms in consultation with industry, encompassing age-appropriate AI instruction, educator training, and a strong focus on ethics and data privacy.
  • Fully fund the implementation of the Diversity in STEM review, including an independent office of diversity and inclusion in STEM.
  • Provide adequate funding to establish a professional administrative capacity for the nation’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM professional Network.
  • Secure resilient and sustainable water futures for all of Australia by fully funding an evolved National Water Initiative and investing in digital technologies for water quality and quantity monitoring, firstly in the Murray-Darling Basin, then across all economic zones.