Australia 2030: Prosperity Through Innovation, released today by Innovation and Science Australia (ISA), highlights the need for Australia to upskill and retrain workers, lift productivity and to generate new income to offset declining commodities earnings.
The plan also adopts a proposal championed by Universities Australia to strengthen incentives for business to collaborate with universities.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson commended ISA on backing a premium R&D Tax Incentive for firms that partner with universities on research and development.
“The $3.1 billion R&D Tax Incentive is the single biggest element of the Government’s innovation spend – yet Australia sits close to the bottom of the OECD for innovation,” she said.
“In recent years, the debate on how to encourage greater industry-university collaboration has focussed entirely on universities – the supply side of the equation.”
“This recommendation for a premium tax incentive also acknowledges the need to get the demand side of that equation right.”
Ms Robinson said the plan sends a strong signal to Government about the value of research and education to drive innovation in our economy.
“Our universities will help to develop the new ideas, new products and new industries that are needed to drive our future prosperity,” Ms Robinson said.
“Australia will struggle to become a top tier innovation nation if we don’t at least maintain our public investment in university research and education.”
Australia’s Chief Scientist and ISA deputy chairman Dr Alan Finkel noted parts of the education sector, including vocational education, face serious challenges.
“This is a reminder that we mustn’t treat education funding as a merry-go-round – cutting from one part of the education sector to fund another,” Ms Robinson said.
“Education from early childhood through to higher education is an investment in the social and economic fabric of the nation.”
The Australia 2030 plan released by ISA Chair Bill Ferris contains 30 recommendations across industry, education and training.
It builds on the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) announced by the Government in 2015.