Tech advocates are urging the new Australian Government to urgently decarbonise the economy and invest in the STEM workforce. 

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) says Australia has a critical window of opportunity to position itself as a technological powerhouse driven by a clean and sustainable economy, highly skilled workforce and world-class research activity and commercialisation.

“Australia requires bold action to tackle climate change, driven by mature and emerging technologies within the framework of a comprehensive regulatory plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier”, ATSE says, urging the government to meet and beat its current commitment.

ATSE says it is looking forward to collaborating with the government in transforming Australia into a STEM superpower through bolder strategic R&D investment and addressing the shortfall in STEM skilled workers.

Labor’s commitments, including the targeting of 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030 through the Start-up Year program, government procurement policy, and the National Reconstruction Fund, have been welcomed by ATSE.

The group urges the Labor Government to prioritise these initiatives along with the establishment of the proposed defence innovation agency.

“Applied science, technology and engineering continue to help Australia navigate through the pandemic but we need a comprehensive plan that assures Australia’s sovereign capabilities and secures Australia’s economic future,” said ATSE president Professor Bradlow.

“We will need 100,000 more digitally skilled workers by 2024 and 40,000 more engineers by 2025. The new government must implement a plan to tackle the decline in STEM achievement of Australian school students and recognise this as the foundation for generating game-changing skills, new jobs and abundant economic returns.”