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National Science Week 2017 showcases key importance of science to the community

10 August 2017

National Science Week, which I am delighted to launch today, provides a valuable opportunity for all Australians to meet scientists, discuss hot topics, do science and celebrate its discoveries and impact on our society.

This is the 20th anniversary of National Science Week and it will be held from 12-20 August.

It has become one of Australia’s biggest festivals with 1.3 million people expected to participate in more than 2000 events, including hands-on and online activities and competitions from the Tiwi Islands to Antarctica and Christmas Island to Cape York.

National Science Week’s popularity over two decades underlines the crucial role that science is playing in shaping our present and future by improving our health, increasing economic productivity and helping to sustain our natural environment.

National Science Week is an opportunity for all of us to shine a light on science and celebrate our great scientists, recognize the wonderful inventions we take for granted that have immeasurably improved our lives and instill our passion in science in the next generation.

The school theme for this year’s National Science Week is Future Earth. It is very fitting that students and teachers from schools across Australia are this morning presenting a national plan for sustainable development.

The Young Australians’ Plan for the Planet is the culmination of eight months’ work at 17 schools. Twelve of these schools have also come together this week for the It’s Our Future Earth Conference underway at ANU and Questacon.

A recent Australian National University survey commissioned by the Australian Government found that 90 per cent of Australians feel that science has made their lives easier overall.

However, we still need Australians to be more informed and engaged with science to reap the full benefits of scientific endeavor.

National Science Week is vital to stimulating discussion and engagement with science each year giving Australians the opportunity to participate in a huge number of events and activities across the country.

In 2017, these include astronomers and NASA scientists discussing Life on Mars at the Sydney Opera House, a science photography contest for students in the Woomera area, and learning about the latest research into gravitational waves at the Gingin Science Festival in Western Australia.

National Science Week is crucial to realising the Australian Government’s vision of a society fully engaged with and enriched by science.

The Government has supported National Science Week 2017 by providing $500,000 in grants for 39 projects under the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme, which seeks to foster life-long, society-wide appreciation for the importance of science in our everyday lives.

As the Minister responsible for promoting the amazing science in our country, I encourage everyone to discover the National Science Week events happening in their communities—in museums, libraries, galleries, research institutions, schools, universities, parks, shopping centres and online.

I also acknowledge the efforts of volunteer committees in each state and territory that have worked with staff from Questacon and partners, including the Australian Science Teachers Association, CSIRO and the ABC, to make this highly collaborative event a success yet again.

For more information visit www.scienceweek.net.au

Media contact: Minister Sinodinos' office