Further evidence has been released today that shows the Turnbull Liberal Government must take action to prepare the Australian economy and workforce for the jobs of the future.

The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) report highlights an emergent skills deficit that must be addressed: 

“Alarmingly, Australia lacks critical mass in ICT skills such as programming, software development, computer engineering, data management, data mining and data analytics.”

Technology and Australia’s Future Report P.18 

This deficit will only be compounded by the Government’s savage cuts of more than $5 billion from Australian universities and over $3 billion from science, research and innovation, which has seen Commonwealth investment in science as a proportion of the budget fall to a 30-year low.

Labor by contrast understands the important role that the university and vocational education sector must play in preparing the workforce for the innovative jobs of the future such as ICT.

We have announced positive plans for our university and TAFE systems to ensure we have a strong, reliable and affordable education sector that is able to meet the challenges of the future.

Labor understands the importance of more young Australians getting a good education in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines. 

That’s why Labor has already announced the first elements of a comprehensive STEM strategy, including:

  • Coding in Schools – ensuring our kids have the opportunity to learn the language of computers from an early age;

  • Teaching STEM – training and upskilling our teachers to be capable and confident teaching STEM subjects;

  • Teach STEM scholarships  - 25,000 STEM graduates incentive to do a teaching degree, to address the shortage of qualified STEM teachers. Recipients will get $5000 when they commence a teaching degree, and $10,000 when they complete their first year of teaching; and

  • STEM Future Workforce – giving 100,000 young Australians the opportunity to graduate from STEM degrees without a HECS debt, with a focus on incentivising students from under-represented groups to get STEM qualifications.

Despite Mr Turnbull’s grand rhetoric, Labor remains the only party that is proudly committed to investing in science, research and innovation to create and sustain the jobs of the future.

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