Innovation statement: what you need to know about Malcolm Turnbull's plan
Date: Dec 7, 2015
What you need to know about the newly released innovation statement:
The slogan: 'Welcome to the Ideas Boom'
The mining boom is so 2010; the ideas boom is where it's at. The slogan apparently played well in focus groups so expect to hear more of it over coming weeks.
The spend: $1.1 billion over four years
It's cash being splashed everywhere you look, with no nasty cuts to be seen. At least not yet. Treasurer Scott Morrison can deal with the growing budget deficit later this month in the mid-year budget update.
CSIRO: In from the cold
The science community was fuming when the Abbott government cut $111 million over four years from the CSIRO in its 2014 budget. Now, the CSIRO is back in favour. The government is creating a new $200 million CSIRO Innovation Fund to support investments in spin-off and start-up companies. The CSIRO will also get an extra $20 million to help commercialise research outcomes
Incoming chief scientist Alan Finkel has decried the "fear of failure" that lies deep in the Australian mindset. The innovation statement aims to encourage a culture of risk taking by introducing new tax offsets for early-stage investments, reducing the default bankrupcy period from three years to one and new laws to encourage crowd-funding.
The end of uncertainty
Remember in March when Christopher Pyne was effectively threatening to sack 1700 university researchers if his fee deregulation package didn't pass the Senate? Then he "fixed" the problem by finding the money elsewhere. Now he really has fixed it. The previously-endangered National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme will receive $1.5 billion over 10 years for projects such as ocean monitoring, advanced manufacturing and medical research.
There will also be $800 million over the decade for two major scientific projects: the Australian Synchotron in Melbourne (which smashes particles together really fast to generate discoveries) and the Square Kilometre Array (the largest radio telescope ever constructed).
No more ivory tower
The mechanisms for funding university research are being simplified, with more focus on industry collaboration and less on publishing articles in academic journals. The six existing block grant schemes will be collapsed into two, with equal rating for research excellence and income from industry. The government will add $127 million in funding for university research over the next four years.
Making science sexy
The government will pump $84 million over the next four years to "inspire" Australians in digital literacy and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). This includes new money to upgrade teachers' digital skills, educational apps and $13 million to boost the participation of girls and women in STEM.
- introducing a new Entrepreneurs Visa to encourage young entrepreneurs to move to Australia
- creating a new cyber security growth centre
- establishing "landing pads" in Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and other innovation hot-spots for Australians to undertake entrepreneurial activity.