Local science project to inspire electorate

Federal Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird welcomed the announcement that the Science Centre and Planetarium of the University of Wollongong has received $45,000 for a local project to help spark greater community interest in science.

This funding matches the funding provided by the IMB Community Foundation and Illawarra Coal.

The Gillard Government’s Unlocking Australia’s Potential grants have awarded $5 million worth of funding to sixty-three successful applicants across the nation for community-based science projects.

“The Science Centre and Planetarium Outreach Program is a fantastic initiative that will help foster greater interest in science, especially for young people in the region,” Ms Bird said.

The Science Centre and Planetarium Outreach Program will involve a touring astronomy show that will visit regional NSW in various schools and town halls by utilising a portable dome theatre. The astronomy show is targeted to members of the public, school children and regional teachers.

The Minister for Education, Peter Garrett, recently joined Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones at Mt Ousley Public School to get a first-hand look at the touring facility and show.  The ability of the Science Centre to take this directly to schools has been enhanced by the availability of the new school halls that can house the dome.

“The allocation of funding to such diverse projects is indicative of how important and inspirational science can be to local communities and to the nation as a whole.

“Community engagement in science and scientific research can help boost productivity and drive innovation,” Ms Bird said.

The grants are part of the Gillard Government’s $21 million Inspiring Australia initiative.