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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5839


Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE (South Australia) (15:45): I, and also on behalf of Senator Griff, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) National Science Week runs from 12 to 20 August 2017,

   (ii) it is Australia's annual celebration of science and technology, and thousands of people get involved, from students to scientists, and chefs to musicians,

   (iii) the week provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Australian scientists to the world of knowledge,

   (iv) it also aims to encourage an interest in science pursuits among the general public, and to encourage younger people to become fascinated by the world we live in,

   (v) science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is a critical part of the Australian economy, and according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers 2015 STEM report, a 1% increase in people choosing a STEM-related career would result in gains for the country's economy exceeding $50 billion in revenue,

   (vi) however, Australia is not producing enough people with STEM skills to meet growing demand, with the number of young Australians choosing STEM subjects in high school in decline, according to 'Engaging the future of STEM' by Sarah Chapman and Dr Rebecca Vivian, and

   (vii) Chapman and Vivian also state that there is a significant gender disparity in STEM in Australia, with females significantly underrepresented in STEM education and careers; and

(b) calls on the Government to address the mismatch between increasing demand and falling supply, and the gender imbalance, in STEM.

Question agreed to.