“In this signature policy, the Turnbull Government has enshrined investing in innovation as an economic imperative – not a luxury,” said Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson.
“This is essential to make the transition to a new era in which skills, knowledge and ideas will be our most precious commodities.”
The initiatives announced today will work together to drive cultural change. It provides a roadmap to guide Australia’s strategy to be an innovation nation.
“Backed by an initial investment of more than $1 billion, the plan is a substantial step forward to shift the cultural mindset from where we are today to a place where we can compete with the world’s best,” Ms Robinson said.
In acknowledging the nation’s budget pressures, she described the plan as “prudent”.
“It is neither extravagant nor penny-pinching. By making considered extra investments in skills, collaboration, culture and capital, the plan seeks to maximise the returns to the nation from every taxpayer dollar,” Ms Robinson said.
For the first time, Australia will have a Cabinet committee to provide whole-of-government policy leadership and oversight of the Government’s ambitious new agenda.
“We are pleased to see stronger incentives for start-ups and their investors, a focus on digital and scientific literacy at all levels of education and ‘brain gain’ policies to retain the best and brightest people, firms and ideas in Australia.”
The Government has sought to lift industry-research collaboration by adopting the recommendations in the Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements to adjust university funding and incentives.
“We welcome the review of the $2.9 billion R&D tax incentive. It is just as important for business to reach in to universities as it is for universities to reach out in this ‘contact sport’ of business-university engagement.”
It also recognises the critical role of Australia’s nationally-significant research infrastructure.
“These are the facilities that underpin Australia’s research capability. Without strong funding to keep them current and world-leading, our place in the world becomes more vulnerable,” Ms Robinson said.
Universities Australia is pleased to see many of the proposals from our pre-election policy statement Keep It Clever incorporated in the plan.
At the core of our statement is the observation that in an era of seismic economic and social change, the smartest nations are looking to their research and innovation systems to transform today’s economic uncertainty into tomorrow’s prosperity.
Today Australia took a major step down that path.