Questacon is getting a $60 million budget windfall in what the Federal Government says helps secure the future of one of Australia’s most cherished institutions.
Finance Minister Katy Gallagher and Science Minister Ed Husic announced the funding decision ahead of next week’s Federal Budget, saying the money would boost national pride in the nation’s home of technology and science.
They said the new funding will support critical property upgrades to maintain visitor safety and also be channelled towards more interactive experiences for visitors.
National STEM programs across the country will also be supported and enhanced through the Questacon funding.
Questacon brings Australian science to life, the ministers said, with its world-class programs, displays and interactive digital activities inspiring children to develop a life-long interest in science and technology.
“Questacon is a much-loved attraction in the national capital and it’s important that it receives long-term sustainable funding, so it can continue educating and entertaining visitors into the future,” Senator Gallagher said.
The funding boost is ongoing, with an additional $15 million a year beyond the forward estimates.
The ministers said the money will enable Questacon to remain a state-of-the-art facility that can accommodate growing numbers of visitors in the years to come.
“Many of the Australian Government’s decisions are informed by science, and that starts with ensuring our nationally beloved home of science and technology is well taken care of,” Mr Husic said.
“It is no secret we need more kids pursuing STEM careers. Inspiring the next generation of scientists is critical to Australia’s future. A school visit to Questacon is a rite of passage for so many Aussie kids. And seeing science brought to life can be the spark that ignites a lifelong passion for science.
“Questacon plays an important role in the Australian Government’s mission to widen the pipeline of talent available to the science and technology sectors, and to reach 1.2 million tech-related jobs by 2030.
“By securing Questacon’s future, Australians will be able to visit this iconic national institution for generations to come.”
Questacon was opened in 1988 and soon became an iconic national institution attracting visitors from across the country and around the world.
Today, half a million people pass through the doors of Questacon each year; many are school children on excursions.
It takes regular touring exhibitions around the country and holds numerous virtual events for those who can’t get to Canberra. Its national programs reach more than 70,000 people in regional and remote areas every year.
Questacon says its vision is for a better future for all Australians through engagement with science, technology and innovation.
The early funding announcement, and the talk of “restoring” some of Australia’s most cherished national institutions, suggests other iconic cultural programs could also benefit from budget handouts.
The government is keen to get its “good news” budget stories into the public arena before what is expected to be a tough budget for most Australians when it is delivered next Tuesday.