Federal budget advances key priorities for Professionals Australia
Friday 12 May 2023
According to Professionals Australia the Federal Budget strikes a
balance between managing a difficult fiscal and economic climate, providing
vital cost of living relief and investing in long-term growth opportunities for
STEM professionals working in priority industries such as energy, advanced
manufacturing and defence.
The Budget has invested in measures that will ensure a just transition
to clean energy, create a fairer industrial relations system and improve gender
equality in the workforce. Strategic investments have been made in construction,
emerging knowledge-based industries, renewable energy, advanced manufacturing
and defence, with STEM skills funding underpinning these national priorities.
Professionals Australia CEO Jill McCabe said there was a lot of good
news in the budget, even if fiscal restraint worked against a bigger investment
in infrastructure, as well as research and development.
“The budget shows short term projected economic growth, but then we’re
going to face a challenging period with growth below historical levels so investments
will be needed in growth industries to stimulate the economy beyond the immediate
high-inflation period,” Ms McCabe said.
“A $4 billion investment in renewable energy brings the Government’s
total investment to more than $40 billion for the sector, plus a new Capacity
Investment Scheme will unlock over $10 billion of investment in firmed-up
renewable energy projects.
“There is a $2 billion investment in hydrogen to put Australia at the
forefront of this economic opportunity and this is big news for engineers in
“These are all welcome investments, especially for our members working
in the energy sector.”
Outside of the energy portfolio, Ms McCabe welcomed investments in
knowledge-based industries and more than $11 billion more
for defence over the next four years, including the Government’s
commitment to the AUKUS agreement as a key investment in advanced
manufacturing. This is supported with $5 billion for STEM skills development to
ensure AUKUS jobs are local jobs.
“The focus on knowledge sectors and defence aligns with our priorities
for industries that rely heavily on the STEM skills base. Stimulating the
construction sector is also a big plus with $2 billion for social and
affordable housing and incentives for build-to-rent projects.”
Ms McCabe said she was particularly pleased the Government’s recent
industrial relations reforms and now the establishment of a Net Zero Authority.
“This was a priority for our members so that the transition
to a low carbon economy is well planned and coordinated, the voices of affected
workers and communities are heard and shape the future and that secure,
well-paid green jobs are available in strong and diversified local economies,”
“A $3.7 billion five‑year national skills agreement with the states
and territories is also long overdue is also good news.”
Other key priorities for Professionals Australia include reinvesting in
the public service and public sector, addressing the gender imbalance in STEM
professions and supporting pharmacy in regional communities.
pharmacy, Ms McCabe said the budget has invested in community pharmacy
programs to support pharmacists to work to their full scope of practice and to
help more Australians access affordable clinical services through community
“Professional Pharmacists Australia which is part of PA is working
through the pharmacy sector reforms with the Government and prioritising the
interests of workers in community pharmacy.
“The investment in pharmacy under the National Immunisation Program is a
good start in recognising the bigger role pharmacists play in primary health
care and we want to ensure the reforms in health care and pharmacy are
supported with investments in the pharmacy workforce.”
Ms McCabe also said the budget’s focus on relieving cost of living
pressures was welcome, especially for people who are most in need.
“Energy bill rebates, increases in some income support payments and the
historic investment in Medicare are important first steps to support people in
our community who need it most, but more action is required to reduce poverty
and inequality in our community.
“Overall, it’s a sound budget. Our strategic priorities are of course
long-term and need to be addressed over multiple budgets, particularly given
the delicate fiscal context.”
Media Contact: Tim O'Halloran 0409 059 617