The heartbreaking scale of this pandemic’s toll on jobs continues. Yesterday’s Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealed almost one million Australians are now out of work. And the nation’s official unemployment rate is now at a two-decade high – reaching 7.4 per cent in June – despite the creation of more than 210,000 jobs in June.
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In a media release this morning, STA has warned jobs in the science, technology, engineering and maths workforce are now at greater risk as hundreds more job losses start to be announced at universities across the country. We have asked the Australian Government to take a fresh look at the damage being inflicted by the pandemic on our research workforce and consider again a JobKeeper lifeline for universities and a one-off boost to the Research Training Program to help keep postgraduate research students employed.
We also continue to engage closely with the proposed changes to higher education funding. The two groups of Vice-Chancellors working with Government on the industry linkages fund and research funding both met for the first time this week. STA will continue to draw the views of our membership into consultation processes.
STA’s Board also met this week. It was heartening to see our clusters report on work by many member societies to deepen Indigenous partnerships, and promote Indigenous STEM knowledge. Work towards STA’s inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan is also well advanced. Our draft RAP has now been lodged with Reconciliation Australia for feedback. We thank our RAP working group which includes the leadership of STA’s Indigenous member associations – Quandamooka First Nations man Professor Chris Matthews of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance and Kamilaroi man and Deadly Science founder Corey Tutt – for their leadership and expertise in this important work.
Our thanks to each of you for your membership renewals in recent weeks. Our members are the lifeblood of STA and we are here to support you through these challenging times.
Until next time,
CEO, Science & Technology Australia
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