Bill's Media Releases

Gillard Government to use new appointment to strengthen ties to social science and research community

 A new Chief Scientist position will be created within the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to increase the role of social science research and evidence in future policy development.

 The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, said the Chief Scientist position will work collaboratively with the Australian and international scientific and research community, and other government agencies, to bring together the best research and evidence to tackle current and emerging policy challenges across the DEEWR portfolio.

 Speaking at a reception for the UK’s Chief Scientist, Sir John Beddington, in Canberra last night, Mr Shorten said the Gillard Government must continue to champion science given the opportunities that lay ahead for Australia.

 “In the emerging Asian Century Australia needs to be out front forging stronger links between scientific research and public policy development, including in the social sciences,” Mr Shorten said.

 “We need to be developing the higher end skills among our workforce that will keep Australia sharp, smart and globally competitive.

 “And we need to be doing everything we can to better engage the research community in responding to our productivity, education and social inclusion agenda for which DEEWR carries broad responsibilities.”

 DEEWR’s portfolio includes early childhood education and childcare, school education, employment, workplace relations and social inclusion. The Department is also responsible for four of the Government’s six Closing the Gap targets.

 The Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, said the Chief Scientist would play an important role in connecting research into what works in education to DEEWR’s school reform agenda.

 “We’ve already capitalised on the recent research in early childhood development to inform improvements to early childhood education and care policies, including the National Quality Framework that is currently being implemented by the Government.

 “And we’ve shown our commitment to supporting science teachers and encouraging our brightest students to pursue careers in the fields of science and research,” Mr Garrett said.

 Mr Shorten said the position will funded out of the existing Departmental staffing budget and be advertised and filled as soon as possible.