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Govt Invests $1.1bn to make Australia an Innovation Nation

Tuesday, 08 Dec 2015

Long-awaited policy revealed. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is confident at least some of the 24 economic “levers” the Government will push in its landmark $1.1 billion innovation statement will help Australia take advantage of the global “ideas boom”.

Launching the long-awaited National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) in Canberra, Turnbull and innovation Minister Christopher Pyne outlined a range of measures and investments “to incentivise innovation and entrepreneurship, reward risk-taking and promote maths, science and computing in schools”.

“There are many levers and measures we have to adopt,” Turnbull said.

“But if we want to enjoy the ideas boom and be an innovation nation then we have to make sure that we look very carefully at where there are weaknesses in the economy and market as it stands and where we can provide a nudge, an incentive, a bit of encouragement to make the system work better.”

Key measures include:

  • Tax offsets for start-ups and venture capital funds
  • A $200m CSIRO innovation fund, plus funding for Data61 (ex-NICTA)
  • A $250m biomedical translation fund
  • Over $100m to build STEM skills and literacy
  • The creation of a new entrepreneur visa
  • A digital marketplace to help start-ups find government work

Turnbull said he was “very confident” that at least some of the proposed measures would deliver for Australian innovation and the economy.

While acknowledging risks in building Australia as an “innovation nation”, Turnbull said there had to be more acceptance of risk-taking in Australian political and economic circles generally.

“We’ve got to be prepared to take risks,” he said.

“That is why one of the aspects of the political paradigm I’m seeking to change is the old politics where politicians felt they had to guarantee that every policy would work and had to sort of water everything down so there was no element of risk.

“Let me tell you – I’m not guaranteeing that all of these policies will be as successful as we hope they will be. Actually I’m very confident about it because we worked very hard on it.

“But if some of these policies are not as successful as we would like, we will change them, and we will learn from them.

“Because that is what a 21st Century government has got to be – it has got to be as agile as the start-up businesses it seeks to inspire.”

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