The Turnbull Government is spending more on its $28 million glossy ‘Ideas Boom’ ad campaign that promotes itself – instead of directing greater support for innovation activity in suburban Australia.

As opposed to planning for wasteful ad campaigns, Labor is promoting smarter suburbs via its positive plan to boost support for regional and suburban start-up accelerators.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Innovation and Start-ups Ed Husic and Member for Kingsford Smith Matt Thistlethwaite this week visited the University of New South Wales’ impressive Michael Crouch Innovation Centre (MCIC) to see the work being undertaken to develop the next generation of Australian innovators and entrepreneurs.

The MCIC not only invites engagement and collaboration across faculties – it also works with local high schools, mentors young university students pursuing new ideas, and helps older workers transition from traditional employment to starting their own enterprises.

These are exactly the kind of activities governments should be supporting and promoting.

Which is why Labor – through our FutureSmart initiative – has committed to investing in the emergence of more metropolitan and regional based accelerators and innovation centres, like those at MCIC, to help drive the creation of the jobs of the future.

A Shorten Labor Government would co-fund the establishment of up to 20 new accelerators over three years based on applications to set up self-sustaining innovation hubs within universities and TAFEs that are closely integrated with the local business community both in regional and urban areas.

This measure is just one of Labor’s fully-costed and fully-funded innovation initiatives, which will also include:

  • Give every school student in Australia the opportunity to learn coding;

  • Provide 100,000 STEM Award Degrees – 20,000 a year for five years – which will write off the HECS debt of STEM Award Degree recipients upon graduation;

  • Encourage STEM graduates to teach by offering 25,000 Teach STEM scholarships over five years;

  • Create up to 2,000 new enterprises a year via a Startup Year, providing university students income contingent loans to build new businesses in university accelerators run by successful entrepreneurs; and

  • Introduce new visa categories for early-stage entrepreneurs to attract the best global entrepreneurial talent to help build Australia’s growing start-up ecosystem.

When it comes to innovation, the Turnbull Government has been a big disappointment – it has threatened to subject our schools to savage cuts, it has botched the rollout of the NBN, it has backed cuts to CSIRO, and it has underfunded Australian innovation activity.

The Turnbull Government’s over-hyped innovation statement has touted a splashy $28 million advertising campaign, yet failed to properly back our numerous metropolitan and inter-city accelerator programs across Australia.

Prime Minister Turnbull talks a big innovation game, but his innovation statement came nowhere near restoring the $3 billion cut from national science, research and innovation programs.

More information on Labor’s positive policies can be found here: http://www.futuresmartaustralia.org

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley

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