Science policy update—December 2019

December 19, 2019

Scientific experts meet with Minister for the Environment

The Academy’s Science Policy team facilitated a roundtable scientific briefing for the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, on 10 December.

The Commonwealth is conducting a ten-year review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)—the national environmental laws.

The discussion with the Minister covered a wide range of topics in environmental science and policy. Minister Ley was interested in how the insights of scientific experts can help the government to improve the efficacy of the laws and focus on positive outcomes. 

The Academy and experts in attendance were very clear that science needs to be at the heart of the EPBC Act and that good science should be embraced to help the government meet its objectives. The Academy and experts emphasised that science should be a part of the solution to over-regulation, not the enemy of red tape reduction.

At the briefing were (from left): Academy Fellows Professor Craig Moritz and Professor David Lindenmayer; the Hon Sussan Ley MP; Associate Professor Emily Nicholson, Deakin University; Professor Robert Harcourt Macquarie University; Professor Richard Fuller, University of Queensland; Professor John Zichy-Woinarski, Charles Darwin University; and Professor Martine Maron, University of Queensland

Academy response to PISA results

The OECD recently released results from its 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The program evaluates the performance of education systems across 79 countries and economies.

The results showed that Australian students are on a downward trajectory in literacy, numeracy and science. Australia ranks 11th for reading, 13th in science and 24th in mathematics.

In response to the results, Academy President Professor John Shine wrote to all state and Commonwealth education ministers on 11 December 2019. The letter outlined the ways in which the Academy and our education programs can be part of the national solution—positioning the Academy as a constructive voice in science education reform in Australia.

Read the letter from Professor John Shine

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