STEM programs get a tickle rather than an upgrade

James Riley
Editorial Director

The Industry department’s STEM engagement programs – targeting Australia’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Capabilities – have been given steady-as-she-goes roll-over funding, but the National Measurement Institute has enjoyed a major boost.

The Budget commits $9.1 million over the forward estimates to support expert digital and STEM advice through the National Science and Technology Council, as well as to ensure the continuation of the high-profile engagement programs like the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, and the Science Meets Parliament initiative.

It also confirmed the already-announced $59.7 million over four years for infrastructure and information technology upgrades at the flagship engagement vehicle, Questacon.

The funding includes $15.2 million per year ongoing to continue Questacon’s STEM education programs and to increase science engagement.

Industry secretary Meghan Quinn with Minister Ed Husic

The National Measurement Institute was given $51.2 million over two years from next financial year for critical ICT and equipment upgrades to strengthen its capacity maintain national measurement standards.

The Budget also unveiled $12.7 million in funding over four years to support the development and delivery of a new legislative framework – an upgrade of the National Measurement Act 1960 – with the aim to reduce regulatory burden on businesses and to better align Australia’s measurement standards to global best practice.

Meanwhile the Australian Space Agency gets a haircut in the Budget as the government has refocused its support for the agency, trimming its program while still ensuring funding support for its coordination and regulatory function.

The space agency will get $34.2 million over three years from next financial year to lead the national policy and strategy coordination for Australia’s civil space sector.

There is also funding for improving regulatory setting for businesses, as well as the funding programs that support local space projects and remove the cost recovery requirements under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018.

More 2023 Budget coverage:

Chalmers stumps up $392m for new Industry Growth Program

Budget lays out $2bn for government tech overhaul

Budget 2023: $2bn for green hydrogen production credits

Defence commits $151m to AUKUS pillar two

My Health Record gets $429m for technology upgrade

Govt backs Quantum and AI industries with $101m

Full Monty ambition for critical minerals supply chains

myGov gets Budget certainty, new money flows to Digital ID

APS in-house consultancy locked in with $11m

eSafety resources quadruple as national cyber office funded

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