Address to Young Engineers Australia & Women in STEM event Melbourne


Thank you so much. Thank you to all the young engineers that are here today. All the innovation that you are showing, believe me the future of our nation depends on innovators like you. It depends on people that are able to solve the problems as Karen said. Solve the problems of today and bring their training and their intuition, their ingenuity, to solve the problems of tomorrow.

The engineers have the quantitative skills that are viable to every area of our national endeavour. It is great to be here with you. We recognise that in innovation lies our future. We simply cannot remain a high wage generous social welfare net first world economy unless we are more innovative, unless we are more competitive, and more productive. You know it.

Australian businesses are getting the message on innovation right around the country. I’ve been over the last few weeks alone I’ve been to businesses that are decades old. One more than a hundred years old and is showing real innovation.

Engineers are forging the way to make us competitive. We have greater opportunities now than we ever have before in all of human history. The pace and the scale of economic change is unprecedented. There are so many examples but probably the best single one is to think about China. Forty years ago it was barely part of the global economy. Now it is the largest single national economy or shortly will be.

That’s all happened in the blink of an eye in terms of human history and that’s just one of many changes. So this scale of change, the competiveness, the openness of globalisation of the economy that is brought on by technology, this offers enormous opportunity but you need to have a plan to achieve those opportunities. To take advantage of them. To meet the challenges.

As you know we have set out our national economic plan and right at the top is our Innovation and Science agenda. That’s why we are putting so much thought, so much policy, and considerable money, resources, behind innovation to ensure there is greater collaboration between research, primary research and industry.

We’re good at primary research. Not so good on the collaboration. Truthfully we can do a lot better and we will. That’s why we are putting resources behind STEM in schools and encouraging as Karen knows, as Assistant Minister for Science, encouraging more girls to do STEM subjects in schools. That’s why Simon Birmingham the Education Minister is requiring in the future that students should have maths or science before they go to university. It is critical that people have those skills. As they used to have. Yet we know now those skills are more important than ever.

This is really a time to engage with you. Let’s get started. Let’s talk about some of the robots.