After two years of neglect from the Abbott/Turnbull Government, business and academia need real action from Malcolm Turnbull.
Malcolm Turnbull talks a big game about innovation, but so far all we’ve seen is the politics of gesture.
For the last two years, Malcolm Turnbull was part of a Cabinet that deliberately and systematically tore down the architecture Labor had built to support commercialisation and collaboration between universities and industry.
He supported every measure in Joe Hockey’s disastrous 2014 and 2015 Budgets, which cut investment in science, research and innovation by more than $3 billion.
As Communications Minister he oversaw the demise of Australia’s world-class ICT research agency (NICTA) and stood by while $42 million a year was ripped from ICT research.
He voted for cuts to the Research and Development Tax Incentive – not once, not twice, but three times. And just this week Senator Sinodinos confirmed that these cuts are not being reviewed under Malcolm Turnbull.
As a Minister, Malcolm Turnbull backed the abolition of Commercialisation Australia, despite its record of supporting more than 500 ventures that raised two dollars of private capital investment for every dollar of government funds invested.
He supported the abolition of Enterprise Connect, a national network of Business Advisers that, under Labor, worked with more than 30,000 local businesses to help them access new ideas and new technologies, including from universities.
He supported $1.2 billion in cuts to university research, CSIRO, ANSTO and other research agencies, and a further $107 million cut from the Cooperative Research Centres program.
And as Communications Minister he failed woefully when it came to delivering the innovation infrastructure of the future – the NBN.
Labor has a proud record of supporting Australia’s national innovation system and we know Australia needs an innovation plan to build the jobs of the future.
That’s why we’ve announced positive policies to advance Australia beyond the mining boom by investing in our greatest resource – the creativity and capacity of our people.
Our proposals are clearly spelled out at www.futuresmartaustralia.org and there’s more to come.
The fact is Malcolm Turnbull is trying to make his government look like a Labor Government because he knows our approach to supporting innovation works.
But it’s hard to take him seriously when he continues to stand by the massive cuts to science, research and innovation he supported in the last two budgets.