Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Education Matters

WA Labor unveils its Science Skills of the Future Strategy for Western Australia

Labor Statement

A McGowan Labor Government will develop a Science Skills of the Future Strategy for Western Australia which will guide the Government in developing the skilled workforce of the future, WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said today.

"My vision for Western Australia is of a broad economy which generates jobs in a diverse range of industries," Mr McGowan said.

"We need to become a smarter, more innovative State if we want to sustain our economic growth and to keep creating jobs beyond the mining construction boom.

"That's why WA Labor will take a strategic approach to science, technology and innovation.

"It is time to build on our reputation as a centre of excellence in research in minerals and renewable energy and become the smartest State in the Asian and Indian Ocean regions."

Mr McGowan reinforced WA Labor's commitment to: 

  • Promote smart hubs for innovation by removing red tape for our universities and technology parks; 
  • Develop Future Science Centres as a model for boosting science education and teacher training in primary schools; 
  • Invest an additional $100million in upgrading Western Australian high schools to give them modern facilities, including science labs and equipment; 
  • Invest $9million in a program to remove barriers for regional students in key centres to study at a tertiary level, including science, technology, engineering and maths; and 
  • Expand the number of high school students studying high-level science by create a new Gifted and Talented Education science program, at South Fremantle Senior High School. 

Mr McGowan said WA Labor would also allocate $20million over four years to support e-learning in primary schools in regional Western Australia.

"WA Labor's plan for science starts in the early years of formal education and extends beyond the tertiary years to help our top innovators to sell their Western Australian ideas, products and services around the world," he said

Mr McGowan said the Barnett Government had focused on cutting research funding, instead of preparing Western Australia for life beyond the mining boom.

"The Barnett Government has axed important programs, hindered our scientists' abilities to attract research funding and lost the confidence of some of our top scientific advisors," he said.

"Just last month, it axed the research program at the Perth Observatory in January.

"The Barnett Government has no strategy for science, despite commissioning numerous reports which found a lack of strategic vision is hampering investment in science and technology in our State.

"There is currently no formally endorsed WA Government strategic direction for innovation in the State.

"A lack of such a strategy makes it difficult for stakeholders to identify priorities and build capabilities around current and future State needs.

"It's time to set Western Australia on the right path to the future by generating new jobs in science, technology and innovation.

"WA Labor has better priorities for a better future."

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