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Lifting Australia's competitiveness through science

14 October 2014

Joint media release with the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister and the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Education

The Australian Government will invest $12 million to improve the focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in primary and secondary schools across the country.

The Government will also establish the Commonwealth Science Council as the pre-eminent body for advice on science and technology in Australia.

Chaired by the Prime Minister, the Science Council will advise the Government on areas of national strength, current and future capability and on ways to improve connections between Government, research organisations, universities and business.

Restoring the focus on STEM subjects in our schools is about ensuring young Australians are equipped with the necessary skills for the economy of the future.

We must encourage interest and curiosity in STEM subjects and demonstrate there are great careers built on science, engineering, maths and technology.

The Government will:

  • Invest $7.4 million to provide innovative mathematics resources for primary and secondary school teachers and students.
  • Invest $3.5 million to provide greater exposure to computer coding across different year levels in Australian schools to expand the pool of ICT-skilled workers.
  • Provide $500,000 for an innovation- focused Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) pilot programme to help develop the next generation of innovators and job-ready graduates.
  • Increase student participation in the Summer schools for STEM students programme, with a focus on girls, disadvantaged and Indigenous students and those living in regional and remote areas. The Government will provide funds to support travel and accommodation for participants.

The Commonwealth Science Council will include the Minister for Industry, Minister for Education, Minister for Health and the Chief Scientist. Other Ministers will participate in the Science Council's discussions as required.

Five eminent scientists, researchers and educators and five business leaders will make up the majority of the Science Council to ensure discussions address the need for industry and science to work together closely to boost Australia's competitiveness.

The Science Council's members are:

  • Professor Timothy Davis
  • Professor Ian Frazer AC
  • Professor Nalini Joshi
  • Professor Tanya Monro
  • Professor Brian Schmidt AC
  • Mr Ken Boal
  • Dr Michael Chaney AO
  • Dr Jackie Fairley
  • Mr David Knox
  • Ms Catherine Livingstone AO.

The Science Council will meet twice yearly and its first meeting will be held before the end of the year.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070