Start-up sector condemns lack of action from Abbott Government on innovation

In a scathing update to its Crossroads report on the state of early stage innovation in Australia, not-for-profit group StartupAUS has condemned the disappointing lack of support from the Abbott Government for the start-up sector.

The report is brutal about the lack of action from the Government to help start-ups in Australia.

It says on page 9:

“Despite extensive engagement with the government by StartupAUS and others, most of the proposed actions in this paper haven not been progressed since its first release in April 2014, and indeed there is little evidence that the government has fully grasped many of the issues facing Startups or is seeking to address them with any sense of urgency.”

The report compares and contrasts what the Government is doing here with what is happening overseas. An $8.3 billion National Venture Capital Fund has recently been announced, South Korea is implementing a $4 billion Creative Economy Initiative and in New Zealand, the network of start-up incubators and innovation precincts are being expanded.

As StartupAUS points out in the report, Australia risks falling behind other countries who are working hard to give their start-up enterprises the boost needed to stimulate economic growth.

The report draws together the thinking of some of the brightest minds of our local start-up sector – their views cannot be ignored.

StartupAUS also expresses grave concerns that Australia faces a talent drain as start-ups leave Australia for countries that are more supportive.

As Australia faces a future where we earn less from commodities, the Abbott Government must think differently about what is going to generate new income and new jobs for future generations of Australians.

At a time where other nations are making sizeable investments to support the emergence of innovative new businesses and economic activity, the Abbott Government has massively cut funding support in this area.

Abolishing Enterprise Connect, Commercialisation Australia, and the Innovation Investment Fund is short sighted in the extreme. Cuts to NICTA, the CSIRO and the R&D Tax Incentive are taking Australia backwards and sending high tech jobs offshore.

The Abbott Government cannot bury its head in the sand to avoid dealing with the issues raised by our local start-up community.

In the absence of action by the Abbott Government, Federal Labor is moving to actively engage with the start-up sector. This includes extensive work through a Senate Committee Inquiry into Australia’s Innovation System established by Labor to fill the black hole that is the Abbott Government’s approach to innovation policy.

The Committee is holding a public hearing in Sydney tomorrow and will be presenting its final report in the coming months.

We are working with the sector on the development of a strong, sustainable national innovation policy platform, informed by stakeholders and through the Senate Innovation Inquiry process, which we look forward to releasing progressively over the next 18 months.