The Federal Budget represents a wasted opportunity to retain our science workforce in Australia.
Professionals Australia, the association representing science, technology and engineering professionals said the Federal Government needs to make sure science is funded with certainty, over the long-term, or we risk our nation’s future as an innovator.
“We currently have a bizarre situation in Australia where levels of investment in science are high but our best and most talented science graduates face job insecurity and ongoing funding uncertainty,” said Chris Walton, CEO of Professionals Australia.
“Scientists are in a funding merry-go-round, and there’s always a review just around the corner. This Budget does nothing to fix the despondency in the sector following thousands of job cuts in government sector agencies like the CSIRO.”
The most recent Scientists remuneration survey by Professionals Australia found:
- 77.3 percent of scientists agreed or strongly agreed that cost-cutting was affecting their organisation’s science capability.
- 32.5 percent of scientists reported a decline in the number of professionals with science capabilities in management and decision-maker roles in their organisation.
- A third of scientists reported being dissatisfied in their current role. Of those who said they were considering leaving their current job, 55.3 per cent said a pay increase would alter their intention.
“The Government is good at talking the talk when it comes to creating a strong science and innovation agenda. This must be backed up with tangible actions to boost public-sector STEM skills and simplify funding for research and development,” said Mr Walton.
“We commend the Government for fully funding the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, representing a potential quantum leap forward for the industry. As part of our commitment to the sector, we must ensure we retain the staff we need by funding Medical Research Institutes sustainably.
“Prime Minister Turnbull envisages his $1.1 billion National Science Innovation Agenda will drive a ‘culture of ideas and innovation.’ Experienced scientists and secure funding deliver real innovation,” said Mr Walton.
Media contact: Jessica Kendall 0414 679 857