Earlier today, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, unveiled the Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. Full details of the statement can be explored at http://innovation.gov.au/page/agenda
Seeking to emulate the mining boom with a more permanent “ideas boom”, the Government’s announcement revolves around four key ideas: culture and capital, collaboration and skills, incentivising risk, and government as an exemplar, with Mr Turnbull saying that “a government has to be as agile as the startup businesses it seeks to inspire.” At its heart, the Government is looking to create an Australian-based culture of creativity and innovation which is committed to investing in STEM education and the appropriate incentivising of risk from the points of view of both start ups and their potential investors.
Contrary to the expectations of many, there was little regarding the R&D Tax Incentive (the Incentive).
However, of direct relevance is the announcement of a new independent body, Innovation Science Australia (ISA), which has been given a mandate to provide whole-of-government advice to the Government on all science, research and innovation matters: http://www.innovation.gov.au/page/innovation-and-science-australia
As one of its first tasks, it will review the Incentive to identify opportunities to improve its effectiveness and integrity, including by sharpening its focus on encouraging additional R&D spend. Given that the ISA will not formally come into existence until 1 July 2016, the review will be commenced by the Innovation Australia Board and then handed over to the ISA. As highlighted in our MJA Update last week, where this puts the current Centre for International Economics review of the Incentive is uncertain.It certainly doesn’t put paid to the idea that the Incentive is suffering from review fatigue.
So, more work to be done in 2016. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact Kris Gale directly on (02) 9810 7211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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