Industry Statement a Smart Step in Winning the Innovation Race

The Business Council of Australia today welcomed the emphasis on innovation and lifting the capabilities of all businesses in the federal government’s Industry Statement.

“The objective of innovation and industry policy must be to facilitate improved productivity and sustained competitiveness of Australian businesses,” BCA Chief Executive Katie Lahey said.

“In light of this, we support the government’s focus on innovation and improved knowledge and capabilities as the drivers of competitiveness.

“We welcome the broad support provided the Industry Statement – particularly to small and medium sized businesses. We are encouraged by the focus of the Industry Statement on seizing global opportunities for Australian businesses by providing access to support services to lift their competitiveness and level of innovation,” she said.

Over recent months the BCA has advocated that importance of lifting the innovation capabilities of Australian businesses across all industry sectors through:

  • improving the provision of information and expertise on innovation resources;
  • improving the knowledge and skills of businesses;
  • building improved linkages and knowledge transfer arrangements between research and business; and
  • encouraging Australia’s investment in research and development.

Ms Lahey said the BCA was pleased that the government’s Industry Statement had identified similar priorities.

“The government’s commitment to establish Australian Industry Productivity Centres and a Global Opportunities Program will make an important contribution to building up the knowledge and skills of small and medium businesses and to provide these businesses with access to outside expertise,” she said.

The BCA also supports the decision to change the beneficial ownership test in relation to the 175% R&D tax concession for incremental increases in research and development. This change will help to encourage international companies to undertake R&D in Australia.

In addition the Commercial Ready Plus initiative will further support micro businesses and start-ups in the development of new ideas.

The BCA also welcomes the decision to allow EFIC to provide insurance for companies that set up off shore for the purpose of exporting.

“As an industry policy statement this is an important start to lifting the innovation and productivity performance of Australian businesses,” Ms Lahey said.

“In our recent policy work on innovation, the BCA has also emphasised the need for policy coordination across and between governments in Australia.

“Policies that improve the innovative capabilities of Australian businesses extend across traditional policy areas such as industry, education and ICT policy.  Improving policy-setting arrangements between different departments and across governments in order to achieve synergies and collaboration in the further development and implementation of policies needs to be a priority for innovation and competitiveness.

“We would like to see more progress in this area.

“Overall, we think the Industry Statement represents a welcome step forward. We would encourage the ongoing review of the programs and where there is a need to develop these initiatives, particularly with the take-up by services companies, this should be done as a matter of priority,” she said.