Science & Technology Australia (STA) has congratulated the new Prime Minister for his appointment of the Hon Karen Andrews MP as Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.
President of STA, Professor Emma Johnston AO, said scientists and technologists breathed a sigh of relief following the decision over the weekend by the Hon Scott Morison and his Deputy the Hon Josh Frydenberg.
“We are very happy to see that a voice for science and technology has now been formally recognised by a seat at the cabinet table” said Professor Johnston.
“We warmly welcome incoming Minister Andrews to the role.”
Professor Johnston said the incoming Minister had shown great dedication and passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) over the years, as co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Science group, a participant in many Science meets Parliament events, and one of ten Parliamentarians taking part in STA’s STEM Ambassador Program.
“Minister Andrews is a strong appointment given her background in engineering and her active and sustained support for the STEM sector.”
She also acknowledged the great work and commitment from the former Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash.
“Senator Cash was a strong advocate for STEM, and we hope to continue working with her in her new role as Minister for Small and Family Business.”
Professor Johnston wrote to the new leadership team on Friday last week, seeking the reinstatement of science to the Ministry.
“It is only fitting to have a formally recognised voice at the cabinet table to represent a sector that is responsible for 26% of Australian economic activity, or around $330 billion per year.”
Professor Johnston said the inclusion of Science would benefit Australia and the nation’s economy, and hopefully lead to better evidence-based approaches to policy and stronger public investment in scientific research.
“Investment in the National Health and Medical Research Council returns $3.20 for every $1 it invests in its work,” she said.
“In Europe science provides a 250% return on investment, in the USA every dollar spent on science and technology returns $2.21 on average, and in the UK they receive 20-50 pence in return every year, in perpetuity, for every pound invested in science and innovation.”
“We look forward to continuing to work with the government to strengthen Australian science and technology, and we applaud the reinstatement of a dedicated Science Minister.”