Peak industry body Science & Technology Australia has asked the political parties and independents standing in this Saturday’s federal ballot for their positions on 10 election priorities for the sector.
The sector’s priorities identify major science and technology policy settings and investments needed for Australia to seize crucial opportunities.
Whether the pledges of current and budding politicians actually hit the road following the election, all sides of politics offered broad support for the sector’s manifesto, which includes ramping up R&D investment to make Australia among the top 10 OECD countries; a $2.4 billion Research Translation Fund for commercialisation, a better plan for the path to net zero, long-term investment in research infrastructure, linking investment in national science agencies to the CPI, and addressing the insecure work system for young scientists around research grants.
The Liberal National Coalition response highlighted an investment of “$93 billion in the science, research and innovation sectors…to support hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled Australian jobs to keep Australia strong and secure our economic future.”
“In these times of global uncertainty, the Morrison Government believes science and technology play an increasingly important role in making Australia more resilient, more competitive and more able to deliver jobs for Australians,” it said.
In its response, Labor said it “believed Australia can be a global STEM superpower” and vowed to work with industry and the research sector to lift Australia’s R&D investment “getting it closer to 3% of GDP achieved in other countries”.
The ALP also made clear its support to legislate the Australian Economic Accelerator as part of the University Research Commercialisation Action Plan.
“An Albanese Labor Government will prioritise science and technology with our comprehensive plan to create jobs, boost vital skills by investing in education and training, bring industry expertise back onshore and supercharge national productivity,” it said.
The Australian Greens advocate investing $17.8 billion in the science, research and innovation sector over a decade, alongside a commitment to put the country on a pathway to investing 4 per cent of GDP in science, research and innovation by 2030.
“Investing in science creates jobs, makes our economy stronger, and allows Australia to overcome the challenges we face as a nation,” the party said.
Key independents who responded included:
- Zoe Daniel, whose team said she “is a strong supporter of STEM” and would be a strong advocate for stronger funding of the tertiary sector and science.
- David Pocock, who said he would “advocate for more longer-term certainty in research investment … on par with other OECD countries” and “oppose undue ministerial interference in allocation of research grants and funding”.
- Dr Monique Ryan, whose team said she was “strongly supportive of the aims of Science & Technology Australia to make Australia a STEM superpower” and boost both public and private investment in research commercialisation.
- Allegra Spender, whose team said she “strongly supports” an aspiration to make Australia a global STEM superpower as a key part of her economic agenda – and wanted to seek deeper investments in R&D.
- Zali Steggall, whose team highlighted her policy platform pledging to “support research and development” including boosting Australian Research Council funding – and bolstering STEM workforce skills training.
- Kylea Tink, whose team said she wanted to see Australia in the top ten OECD nations for investment in R&D – including via research grants – and supports a review of funding to ensure “a vibrant scientific workforce at all levels”.
- Andrew Wilkie MP, whose office declared his “strong agreement with each of the ten priorities.”
The full responses of the parties and candidates to STA can be found here.
STA represents more than 90,000 scientists and technologists nationally.
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