• Media Release

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $580,000 in two University of Newcastle projects to boost the number of young people in Newcastle and surrounds participating in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  

This election will be a choice between a united Shorten Labor Government, which will restore the Liberals’ education cuts and give students the education they deserve, or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos. We need real change, because more of the same isn’t good enough. 

Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said that STEM capability will be fundamental to driving innovation and prosperity into the future. 

“While many jobs are disappearing, STEM jobs continue to grow at a rapid pace,” Ms Claydon said.  

“If Australia is to stake our place in the 21st century knowledge economy, we need to ensure that our young people have the skills and opportunity to secure the jobs of the future.” 

Ms Claydon said a $400,000 commitment would allow the University of Newcastle to extend the work of HunterWiSE – a collaborative network of women in STEM focused on addressing low female participation rates in the sector – for three years.  

“The funding will support HunterWiSE Outreach, a 10-week intensive program that links girls in high schools across the region with female mentors working or studying in STEM sectors to tackle problems in their local community,” Ms Claydon said. 

“Participants will also benefit from campus and workplace visits, weekly workshops and a final presentation of their solution to industry representatives.”  

Ms Claydon said a further $180,000 would be dedicated to the development of a pilot virtual science lab program to give regional school students opportunities to engage in science. 

“The virtual science lab will foster a love of science and provide education about career pathways for year nine and 10 students from two regional high schools,” Ms Claydon said.  

“Students will connect a couple of times a week in real time to explore science themes from university experts, watch live experiments and do activities.”  

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO welcomed the funding commitments. 

“Our university is absolutely committed to giving talented people the opportunity to get a university education and to make a difference, regardless of where they live or what gender they are,” Professor Zelinsky said. 

“These projects will encourage more girls and women into STEM careers and give greater access to regional students to develop their love of science.  

“We need to inspire these young people to take on STEM careers because they’ll ultimately be the ones who will need to solve the world’s greatest challenges.”   

A Shorten Labor Government will also uncap university places and invest $100 million to upgrade TAFE facilities. 

This election is a choice between Labor’s plans for better schools, hospitals and universities, or the Liberals’ bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town. 

It’s time to end the chaos. Vote for change. Vote for Labor. 

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