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New Minister announces National Science Festival



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&

MINISTER FOR

SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY THE HON. ROSS FREE

AUSTRALIA .A

EMBARGOED! MIDNIGHT SUNDAY 16 JUNE 1991 70/91

NEW MINISTER ANNOUNCES NATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL

The Minister for Science and Technology, Mr Ross Free, announced today that Australia is to have a national science ■ festival.

Mr Free said the festival, which he hoped would be comparable with the International Science Festival in Edinburgh, would be held in Canberra in April 1993.

He ^aid the festival would be a showcase of Australian science achievement arid a focus of science education for the Australian community. It would include many hands-on activities for all the family to show that science could be

fun and was a part of everyday life.

Free sard the festival also would be an opportunity to encourage young people to choose science as a career. Girls in particular needed to be "encouraged into science-.

The event will be a forum for meetings and activities between scientists, technologists, academics, industry leaders, and government decision-makefs from.Australia and overseas.

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Mr Free said he wished to encourage the science community and industry to come forward with ideas for the Australian Science Festival. r

"For Australia to become the clever country it is important to increase awareness of the crucial role of science in economic development," he said.

"It is important for Australians to realise how integral science is to their everyday lives. Australian businesses should be more prepared to take up the challenges of Australian scientific and technological innovation."

"The science community'for its part, must show that it is proud of its profession and that it is in touch with the needs of Australian society," he said. · ,

Mr Free said he hoped Australian and overseas Companies and ■ research institutions would take the opportunity to inspect the very best of Australian science at first hand, and also to exhibit their own research.

The Minister said the idea of the festival had grown out of the science community itself. He paid tribute to two researchers from the ANU's John Curtin School of Medical Research, Dr Arno Mullbacher and Dr Paul Waring, who had developed the festival idea about 18 months ago and had worked hard to see it become a reality.

He said a steering committee for the Australian Science ' Festival had been established, made up of representatives from CSIRO, the National Science and Technology Centre and the Australian National University. The festival will be managed by Canberra Festival Inc * .

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Mr Free said the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce's Science and Technology Awareness Program had made a grant to Canberra Festival Inc. to employ a co-ordinator for the event. Prime Computer of Australia and CSIRO were

sponsoring the planning process.

He said Canberra was chosen as the venue for the festival because many of Australia's scientific institutions had their headquarters in the capital, and because it would give the event a national focus and profile. The festival would incorporate CSIRO's successful "Biota" festival, a local event in which scientists opened their laboratories to the public.

"The festival should be to the science community what the Festival of Arts in Adelaide is to the arts community. I wish the organisers every success in their endeavours," he said.

CANBERRA Contact

David Mussared CSIRO Public Affairs ■ (06) 276 6478 (w) (06) 247 3545 (h)

Phil Tardif Minister's Office (06) 277 7280 (w) (06) 254 7383 (h)