BCA report a wake-up call for Abbott Government

Shadow Innovation and Industry Minister Senator Kim Carr has welcomed the Business Council of Australia’s call for government to play a key role in providing leadership in innovation policy.

“As highlighted by the Business Council of Australia yesterday, government has a key role to play in business growth, including through leadership on innovation policy and facilitating economic development,” Senator Carr said.

“The BCA report is a wake-up call for the Abbott Government, which has been so busy dismantling Labor’s 10-year innovation strategy that it has lost sight of the economic imperative.

“The BCA’s acknowledgment of Australia’s comparative advantage in niche manufacturing is also welcome.

“Many of the recommendations in the BCA’s report are an endorsement of Labor’s Innovation Agenda, enshrined in Powering Ideas launched in 2009.

“Labor made a further $1 billion commitment to this agenda in the Industry and Innovation Statement, A Plan for Australian Jobs, launched in 2013.  

“Under Labor’s watch, funding for science, research and innovation grew by more than 35 per cent to the current annual total of $8.9 billion.

“In addition, record funding went to our premier research agency, the CSIRO, and 190,000 extra students were able to take up places at university.

“As the report states:

We need to recognise the concept of our knowledge infrastructure, and its contribution to national competitiveness, through the rise of knowledge and design-intensive business models. This knowledge infrastructure resides in our governments, universities, national facilities and our companies and is refreshed through R&D and skilled and talented people.

“The Abbott Government clearly fails to recognise this concept, having slashed more than $7 billion from higher education, science, research and industry innovation programs.

“The report also notes:

It is innovation that will allow businesses to access new markets, grow value and tap into global value chains to bring new products to market. It is innovation that will allow existing industries to improve their productivity and strip out costs. Most importantly, it is innovation that will allow Australia to prosper in a global marketplace as a high-wage country with a high standard of living.

“The Abbott Government, however, has scrapped the previous government’s highly successful innovation programs that sought to do just that, including Enterprise Connect, Commercialisation Australia, Supplier Advocates, Australian Industry Participation Plans and the Innovation Investment Fund.

“The BCA report calls for a rethink on the role of government and urges a sector approach and an associated structural reform agenda, such as the UK Government’s Catapult Networks, designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in seven specific areas and to help drive future economic growth.

“Here again, we welcome the BCA’s recommendations and call on the Abbott Government to look to the work that has already been done by Labor, with the $500 million Innovation Precincts initiative launched as part of the Plan for Australian Jobs.


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