In case you missed it, we have a Minister for Science again.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane emerged a winner from last December’s cabinet reshuffle, adding science to his existing portfolio.
The Minister will be assisted Queensland MP Karen Andrews who scored a promotion to Parliamentary Secretary.
Science is back in cabinet
While Ian Macfarlane already had some responsibility for science within his portfolio – primarily CSIRO – he will now be styled as the Minister for Industry and Science.
It’s a development that will sit comfortably with the Minister who is a big supporter of utilising science and research to drive industry policy.
New Parliamentary Secretary
Minister Macfarlane will be joined by Karen Andrews MP as Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science, replacing Bob Baldwin who shifts to Environment.
Alongside Labor’s Richard Marles, Mrs Andrews is a cofounder of the Parliamentary Friends of Science group. With a background in Mechanical Engineering and industrial relations, Mrs Andrews is also the Chair of the Joint Standing committee for Public Works, charged with oversight of CSIRO consolidation projects at Black Mountain and Clayton.
Positive step but real action required
Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski welcomed the development.
“It’s good to see science back at the top table. The research community was disappointed by the initial absence of a science minister and this is an important opportunity for Minister Macfarlane to advocate on behalf of science within cabinet.
“However, relabeling the portfolio will only impact the sector and in particular CSIRO – still reeling from heavy cuts – if it’s followed through with actions to boost science and innovation. The Minister has a lot of work to do.”
“The CSIRO has lost one in five jobs over two years therefore there needs to be a lot of work done to revitalise the organisation to build funding, morale and output,” he said.
Science minister’s role must be backed with action – Canberra Times