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Matter of Public Interest: Medtronic Bennelong STEM Challenge

14 August 2018

Medtronic Bennelong Schools’ STEM Challenge

Photo of MP Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (13:50): I rise to address the House about the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, in our education system. In Australia we enjoy a very high standard of living that has been made possible by the hard work of generations past, but if we are to continue enjoying this standard of living, we must be ready and able to innovate and grow. That can only occur if we provide high-quality STEM education to our younger generations and afford them opportunities to develop their problem-solving and lateral thinking.

Two weeks ago I launched the Bennelong STEM challenge, which is a program available for all 42 schools in our electorate to participate in. This year we have partnered with the excellent Re-Engineering Australia Foundation, which creates STEM challenges for schools all around the country. This year’s task is for teams to design a medical centre for the surface of Mars using 3D design software—a fitting theme, given the recent announcement of the formation of the Australian Space Agency. This will give teams ample opportunity to partner imaginative design with technological skills and explore all that STEM has to offer. The competing teams will present their designs at a competition day, which will be held in late September and has been generously supported by Medtronic, who will be hosting the teams at their office in Macquarie Park. The competition has been very well-received by numerous schools, and we very much look forward to seeing what the teams come up with for outer space.