This week, enacting legislation for the new $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund secured passage through the Australian Parliament. The fund will be a powerful new investment in our country’s future. It will spur and scale Australia’s economic development and diversification - and be powered by home-grown science. Science & Technology Australia warmly welcomed this historic moment.
This new fund will help to deepen Australia’s scientific and technological innovation – which is key to strengthening our national prosperity, creating jobs and securing new income streams. And it significantly boosts Australia’s pool of investment capital for next-generation materials development, value-adding and advanced manufacturing – the foundations of a strong, modern economy. In turn, this helps to turbo-charge sovereign capability and economic complexity.
A constellation of stars from the worlds of science, technology and policy converged on Canberra for Science Meets Parliament 2023: On the Hill. More than 400 scientists packed into Parliament House for a day of inspiration and engagement with decision-makers.
It was a record-breaking success. More than 40 per cent of the Parliament took part - with 87 meetings across eight hours and a strong turnout of Parliamentarians at the gala dinner. And this was achieved amid one of the busiest legislative fortnights in living memory. Such strong support is a testament to the respect for science among Parliamentarians - and the esteem for Science Meets Parliament. And it is made possible by the stellar support of the foundation partners - the Department of Industry, Science and Resources and the Office of the Chief Scientist.
What a powerful program. A diverse array of Australian science leadership greats - led by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley AO and Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt AC - shared insights, working up to a superb National Press Club address by Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic.
Powerful speeches about the power of science also centred the gala dinner - with inspiring words from Minister Husic, Parliamentary Friends of Science co-chairs Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, and Shadow Science Minister Paul Fletcher. Paul Girrawah House warmly welcomed us to Country, and gala dinner partner ANSTO CEO Shaun Jenkinson reminded us of the power of sovereign science expertise, following a welcome reception hosted by AbbVie. Photo highlights are here. A huge thanks to everyone who made it such a success.
Got a clean tech concept to boost sustainability in agriculture and food production and processing? Then enter our SparkLabs Cultiv8-STA competition to win up to $100,000 of investment and a place in a prestigious 6-month accelerator program. Entrants must be a Science & Technology Australia member. The winner will get mentoring, networking and business development support to help bring the next generation of clean agri-food technologies to market. SparkLabs Cultiv8 will run an information webinar on Wednesday 5 April at 2pm AEDT. Register here.
Don’t miss the chance to share your ideas on what should be in Australia’s next set of official national science and research priorities. This is a chance for Science & Technology Australia’s membership to offer insights on the complex challenges that Australia can tackle by taking a more coordinated and concerted science and technology focus, and the opportunities Australia should seize. The consultation deadline has been extended to next Thursday - 6 April. You can make a submission here.
Finally, Science & Technology Australia is drafting a submission to the Universities Accord review. To feed any short, sharp, tight content into this process, please email STA’s Policy Director Sarah Tynan by COB Monday to feed ideas into our submission, which is due before Easter. More detail on the Accord is here.
Until next time,
CEO, Science & Technology Australia