Professional Scientists Australia, a Division of Professionals Australia, is a membership based association that represents scientists in the private and public sector right across Australia. For more than 60 years we have represented scientists like you.
We are part of the Professionals Australia network which has 25,000 members nationally. We began as the Association of Professional Engineers, Australia (APEA) which formed in 1946. APEA was the first organisation to ensure that professionals were recognised and rewarded for the high-value work we do. We continue to strive for similar goals, in today’s modern environment.
We are committed to:
Providing the highest standard of workplace advice and support to our members.
Advocating on behalf of scientists so that they are heard by government and industry.
Bringing scientists together, to negotiate a better bargain for your pay and conditions.
*Professionals Australia and its divisions are registered business names of the Association of Professionals Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA), a registered organisation under the Fair Work Registered Organisations Act.
At Professional Scientists Australia we believe you should judge us by how effective we’ve been in advocating for science and the science and R&D workforce, improving members’ lives at the workplace level and providing direct member benefits.
How have we influenced public policy, won gains for members in the workplace and provided direct benefits over the last few years?
At the policy level …
- we launched and promoted our Still the Clever Country? The campaign shows the community the value of the work of professional scientists, helps convince decision-makers that investing in science is fundamental to ensuring Australia remains a clever country and shows how science and technology deliver value in longer-term.
- we made submissions to the Innovation Inquiry, the CRC Program Review, the Science and Technology for National Security Review and the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Workplace Relations.
- we supported Science and Technology Australia’s advocacy against reduced funding for the Australian Research Council, CSIRO, DSTO, the CRC Program, ANSTO and AIMS.
- we backed the Universities Australia Keep it Clever campaign against fee deregulation to ensure increased fees don’t act as a disincentive for those considering STEM degrees.
- we met with the Council of Rural R&D Corporations to discuss shared interest in the quality, capability and capacity of our science and research community.
- we worked with Science and Technology Australia and the Research Alliance to advocate for operational funding for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.
- we partnered with the Australian Youth Science Forum to provide extra information and networking opportunities for our early-career scientists.
At the workplace level …
- Professionals Australia successfully campaigned for ongoing funding for the Australian Synchrotron facility and went on to campaign for recognition of the importance of funding world-class research infrastructure.
- a major state-based health agency was planning on contracting out a range of services. Following negotiations with the unions pointing out the false economy of outsourcing and the likely compromise to service standards, they elected to keep the services in-house.
- Science Division members were working in the water industry and classified as Laboratory Technicians (no degree required) despite being degree qualified (one with a Masters) and doing complex work of a professional scientist. We assisted them in being reclassified at the correct rate for professional staff and paid accordingly.
- we had a large number of senior scientists (and other professionals) on contracts at a local government workplace that saw them paid less than the people they were managing once allowances and overtime were included. We negotiated with the company to get an enterprise agreement for senior staff with improved conditions and remuneration for all senior staff at that workplace.
- we argued for scientists and laboratory technicians at a water testing laboratory to receive an allowance for handling sewer matter that was paid to staff other than those in the science group at the organisation who were in contact with objectionable material.
- when the state government decided to sell off a former state government owned water consulting business that provided laboratory and other water resource services to private organisations and government authorities, we negotiated a set of protections for the employees in addition to their normal agreement entitlements including a requirement that the new owner committed to the jobs being continued locally for at least a 5-year period, and to continue to provide its contract work to the business for a 5-year period. All roles were secured at the location for 5 years.
And member benefits …
- our team of lawyers provided advice to over 300 science members in the areas of employment contracts, redundancy, leave and performance/discipline issues.
- we awarded two scholarships to early career scientists to attend Science meets Parliament.
- to mark Science Week, we awarded a professional development scholarship worth $500.
- we provided specialist remuneration services including detailed advice on market rates by branch of science, responsibility level, post-grad qualification, etc.