ACS welcomes budget boost to technology research, investment and innovation
Canberra, Tuesday 8 May: ACS has congratulated Treasurer Scott Morrison on the announcement of a $1.9 billion boost to Australia’s research capability and the investment of $2.4 billion over 12 years to boost Australia’s science and technology capacity. That includes positive investments in artificial intelligence, digital identity, satellite technology, supercomputers and a national space agency.
The budget speech also indicated that changes would be made to the Research and Development Tax Incentive, which could go some way to helping improve the quality of Australia’s research and development investment, leading to better outcomes in the R&D and business community.
ACS President Yohan Ramasundara spoke to the importance of Research and Development for Australia’s position in the global tech community.
“Aussie Founders in San Francisco, who have their engineering teams here in Australia, have regularly shared with us how important the R&D tax incentives are to maintaining that presence in Australia. We also understand the Government needs to reduce debt and live within its means. The changes to the R&D Tax Incentive will focus the support where it is needed the most, for small to medium enterprises who we all want to see become large enterprises.”
Mr Ramasundara also praised the change to corporate taxation.
“At times, the corporate tax rate conversation seems to have lost sight of how important competitive tax rates are for attracting new investment to Australia. Technology multinationals create new jobs for our economy, as well as transferring skills and knowledge across the nation. Creating an environment that encourages more R&D in technology here in Australia will provide a multiplier effect.”
He also welcomed the additional focus on Women in STEM that will also help equip the technology sector with the skills it needs to drive further economic growth in coming years. Additionally, the $190 million the Federal Government is allocating to help mature age workers reskill is also a positive move for the Australian economy.
“We have long advocated that there are three key pillars to a modern digital and knowledge economy, one which is higher up the value chain, affords higher paying jobs, and delivers trust. These pillars are a strong banking and finance sector, a strong cyber security capability, and an ability to deliver high level STEM skills in the education system.”
“The investments in research infrastructure, mature-age reskilling and the appointment of a Women in Science ambassador are a step in the right direction.”
The Treasurer also highlighted his desire to ensure multinational technology companies paid their fair share of tax through an enhanced compliance regime, which was also welcomed by Mr Ramasundara.
“Every company operating in Australia should be paying their fair share of tax. What we don’t want to see though is an abundance of red-tape thrust upon those local agile technology businesses who are trying to innovate and grow local jobs. This part of the Treasurer’s plan must be executed with the greatest of care so as to not dent confidence in the sector.”
Mr Ramasundara also welcomed the additional investment in the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.
“Funding of $14.2 Million over the next four years for the eSafety Office is a welcome addition. The work undertaken by this office is critical to protecting Australians and making the online experience a safe and enjoyable one for all Australians. The pervasive nature of technology comes with risks, but this shows a clear commitment to helping mitigate those risks.”
Mr Ramasundara concluded by stating that more investment to prepare Australians is required to ensure a positive digital future for Australia.
“While there has been an improvement in terms of a funding allocation for building digital skills, the reality is that we need to do more. Further investment in training, development and small business digital literacy will go a long way to securing a strong digital economy from which all Australians will benefit.”
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ACS is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. More than 37,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.