news The Coalition Government has introduced its Innovation and Science Australia Bill to parliament, a move it said will place innovation and science at the centre of its long-term plan for Australia’s economic prosperity.
The new bill will see Innovation and Science Australia – the organisation set up to assist the Government in completing the three waves of its National Innovation and Science Agenda – established in law.
Innovation and Science Australia will also provide guidance for government over how to best spend its budgeted $10.1 billion investment for 2016/17 in innovation, science and research.
The body will further directly engage “international, business and community sectors” to improve the performance of the national innovation and science system, said Greg Hunt, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, in a statement.
Chaired by Bill Ferris, with Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel as Deputy Chair, the Innovation and Science Australia board includes individuals with a “proven track record” in areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Building our strength in science allows us to capture greater opportunities for our people,” said Hunt.
He called innovation the “driving force” for increasing Australia’s productivity, adding that it will “keep businesses competitive and maintain our high standard of living”.
“Innovation matters to all Australians because it is about job creation,” the Minister concluded. “It is about new and improved opportunities to do business, and it underpins a healthy economy.”
While the government’s $10.1 billion investment in innovation, science and research is not in doubt, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been criticised for undermining his own innovation initiatives with a recently announced package of cuts worth $6.5 billion over four years across a number of portfolios.
Among the cuts, is almost $1 billion that will be made up from the R&D Tax Incentive – a significant factor affecting the number of Australian businesses getting more deeply involved in innovation.
Image credit: Parliamentary broadcasting