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Message from the Governor – National Science Week 2019

Thursday, 15th August 2019

The theme for this year’s National Science Week could not be timelier – ‘Destination Moon: more missions, more science’. In the past year we have celebrated the establishment of the Australian Space Agency, and just last month learnt of the key role Western Australia will play in the Agency’s work, with the signing of an MoU between our Federal and State Governments.

Governor looks at spiral structure while tour guide explains purpose
Gravity Discovery Centre guide Hayden Crisp demonstrates gravitational waves. The Centre is the key part of the Gingin Science Precinct which includes Gingin Observatory, the Zadko Telescope, AIGO, and Geoscience Australia Geomagnetic Observatory. Photo: Lucy Jarvis, Community News

A visit to the Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory in Gingin on Tuesday was an exciting way to celebrate National Science Week and a clear reminder of our State’s outstanding capabilities in the new space age development and complex scientific research.

As well as more than 60 years of experience in the space industry, including key roles in the Apollo 11 lunar landing (which marked its 50th anniversary in July), WA has many advantages in the management of space systems and research including:

  • Geographic benefits and world-leading industry expertise in remote operations, robotics and big data.
  • Co-hosting the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio astronomy project – the world’s largest radio telescope.
  • Hosting the European Space Agency’s ground station at New Norcia, and, in partnership with Australian Defence, the United States Airforce’s Space assets at Exmouth.

Our young West Australians will be in the box seat to help grow our State’s space industry with the recently signed MoU leveraging WA’s growing space capabilities over the coming years. Projects will include the development of a robotics and artificial intelligence mission control facility and space data analysis facilities, exciting projects that build on our strengths.

It is a privilege to be able to meet people in WA doing outstanding work in industries associated with next generational industry development. I am constantly impressed by our world leading research centres, including our universities, and cutting-edge innovations in defence, mining and primary industry technologies.

In May the Governor visited the future home of the Australian National Phenome Centre at the Harry Perkins Institute. The Centre will house the world’s most advanced scientific infrastructure for clinical phenomics research.

Most importantly we must foster STEM education to continue our State’s excellence in these areas. It is well known that 75 per cent of the fastest growing jobs in the future will require STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Governor poses for photo with group of primary school students on the Government House staircase
Brookman Primary School – winners of the 2018 Governor’s School STEM Awards in the primary school category – returned to Government House this week to meet with the Governor for a celebratory afternoon tea. Finalists in the 2019 Awards will be announced in September and invited to an awards ceremony at Government House later in the year, where winners will be announced by the Governor.

I am proud to be Patron of the Governor’s School STEM Awards, set up by my predecessor the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC. The Awards promote best standards in whole-of-school STEM education across primary and secondary school categories. They are one way that we can equip our young people with vital problem solving and creative thinking skills which will help them to succeed in the jobs of the future and unlock opportunities for our economy.

Applications are still open for the 2019 Awards, closing Monday 19th August. Apply here.

Promoting our State’s science and research capabilities is part of a list of priorities I have committed to during my term as Governor.

See what activities are scheduled in your area for the remainder of National Science Week 2019 (external link)

The Honourable Kim Beazley AC