The Prime Minister has split the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolio held by former Minister Christian Porter between two existing Ministers.
Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, has been given the Science and Technology portfolio in addition, while acting Industry Minister Angus Taylor has been confirmed in this position as Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions reduction. Liberal backbencher Tim Wilson has been appointed Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions reduction.
“This will complement [Minister Price’s] Defence Industry responsibilities very significantly,” said Morrison in his announcement. “It is timely, particularly given the AUKUS arrangements, which will see us working together with the United States and the United Kingdom, linking up our industry, our science and technology supply chains.”
Minister Price will also have responsibility for the Australian Space Agency. The Agency has an ambitious goal to facilitate the creation of an additional 20,000 jobs in the sector and triple its turnover, bringing it up to $12 billion with a $1 billion inward pipeline of civil space sector investment by 2030.
Commenting on her appointment, Minister Price said, “There is a strong connection between Science and Technology and my Defence Industry responsibilities, with the linkages between our economic security and our national security as clear as ever.
“Australian companies are at the cutting edge of technology and it is critical that we harness this capability to ensure our men and women in uniform are the best equipped in the world during this strategically challenging time.”
Since taking on the Defence Industry portfolio in June 2019, Price has concentrated on making significant, positive changes to create more opportunities for Australian businesses in the Defence industry.
“This included a ‘five pillars’ approach that encapsulated my vision for changing the way we support and do business with defence industry,” she added. “I also recently launched a review into our Defence innovation system to ensure that our Defence Force has access to the most cutting-edge technology in the world.
“I have no doubt that the lessons learned over the past two years will apply to industries that are part of the Science and Technology portfolio.”
The AUKUS agreement is also going to deliver significant opportunities for government agencies, Australian SMEs and academic institutions in the Science and Technology space, Minister Price added.
Minister Taylor welcomed his confirmation in post saying, “As Minister, I will build on the Morrison Government’s work to promote and support Australian industry to ensure we have a strong, local manufacturing sector that is growing and creating more jobs.
“The Morrison Government is strengthening Australia’s sovereign capabilities to help industry capitalise on expanding market opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region, and ensure our country is well placed to deal with any challenge – such as COVID-19 – that might emerge in the future.”
He also pledged to continue ensuring that Australians have access to affordable, reliable energy, while reducing emissions. “Australia’s emissions are now at 20.8% below 2005 levels, the lowest level since records began in 1990, and we are on track to meet and beat our 2030 Paris target,” he said.