Federal Government announces AUD$1.1 billion Innovation Statement

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th December 2015

The Federal Government under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull today released an AUD$1.1 billion to be allocated towards innovation-based research and development over the next four years.


Announcing the imitative in Canberra today, Prime Minister Turnbull together with the Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne said the aim of the Innovation Statement was to place entrepreneurship and innovation at the heart of everyday Australian activity.


Key Initiatives


  • ‘Start-up’ businesses will be able to claim tax rebates up to AUD$200, 000 per year. These types of business will also be eligible to access capital gain tax exemptions.


  • The CSIRO Innovation Fund will receive AUD$15 million over four years and AUD$75 million will be allocated to the CSIRO’s data research division, Data 61.


  • A Biomedical Translation Fund will receive AUD$10 million over four years, and will operate in conjunction with private businesses and organisations.


  • A Cyber Growth Centre will be established to help invest in cyber security. The Centre with be the recipient of AUD$30 million in government funding.


PM wants a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation


Prime Minister Turnbull said that the Government is investing $15 million to create a new digital marketplace to make it easier for start-ups and small and medium businesses to sell to and work with government.


A government-based Digital Transformation Office (DTO) will develop a ‘Digital Marketplace, which will be an online directory of digital and ICT services from which government agencies can procure the supply of their digital requirements. The government expects this to improve competition and to promote innovation across government.


“The Digital Marketplace will break down barriers to entry and make it easier for startups and small and medium businesses to compete for the $5 billion government spends on ICT each year,” Prime Minster Turnbull said.


Medical research sector welcomes Innovation Statement


Professor Doug Hilton Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and President of the Association of Australian Medical Research said the medical research sector of Australia welcomes the Biomedical Translation fund.


“The medical research sector particularly welcomes the establishment of a new $250 million Biomedical Translation Fund to expedite investment in biomedical innovation, and the $200 million CSIRO Innovation Fund to support co-investment in new spin-off and start-up companies, products and services from Australia’s research institutions.,” said Professor Hilton.


“As Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Pyne stated, Australia’s future prosperity depends on research and innovation to compete on the international stage, to deal with complex issues and capitalise on the opportunities of the future. Nowhere is innovation more evident than in the health and medical research sector, where discoveries play a crucial role in improving our health system, helping Australians to live longer, healthier and more productive lives, reducing the burden of disease on our economy, and delivering the jobs of our future.,” Professor Hilton said.


“We know that every dollar invested in health and medical research returns at least two dollars, with many studies suggesting this rate of return is much higher. These returns come not just from marketable medical discoveries but also from innovations leading to more efficient diagnoses and treatments. The pharmaceutical and medical devices sector is Australia’s best performing smart industry and we are pleased to see the Government doing all that it can to ensure the growth of this sector in the launch of its new agenda,” Professor Hilton concluded.


Good news for farming


The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed todays’ announcement of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, and urged the government to consider agribusiness when legislating proposed changes.


NFF CEO, Simon Talbot, said the announcement marked the start of an important cultural shift for the Australian economy which would have important implications for the farm sector.


“Australian agriculture has historically been a strong source of innovation, drawing on Australia’s world class public-private partnership model for agricultural research,” Mr Talbot said.


“The farm sector relies on continual innovation to maintain Australia’s strong international competitiveness,” he said.


“Agribusiness is at the beginning of an exciting growth period with surging demand for quality Australian produce in key export markets,” he said.


Another ‘Backing Australia’s Ability Policy’?


Interestingly, the Innovation Statement follows in the footsteps on another scheme by John Howard and Peter Costello’s 2001 budget with its AUD$2.9 billion ‘Backing Australia’s Ability’ Policy. In that innovation statement, the policy saw AUD$736 million given to the Australian Research Council for research grants, while AUD$583 million in research infrastructure and other similar investments were made.