TURNBULL GOVERNMENT PUTS SELF-PROMOTION AHEAD OF TASMANIAN INNOVATION

Tasmanian start-ups are set to lose out under Malcolm Turnbull’s all-talk innovation agenda, as he gets set to spend more than three times as much on advertising as he’s spending to support regional innovation.

The Turnbull Government’s over-hyped innovation statement has been backed up by a $28 million ad campaign, yet policies promoting regional innovation only received around $8 million.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Innovation and Startups Ed Husic and Senator for Tasmania Helen Polley today visited Launceston’s Foundry and Macquarie House Innovation Hub – great local organisations that are working to develop the emergence of strong early stage innovators in Tasmania.

By 2030 it’s been estimated that two out of every five Australian jobs will be affected by automation. This means we need to invest now in developing the skills and entrepreneurship needed to create and sustain the jobs of the future, especially if we’re going to secure these high skill jobs in Tasmania.

With two thirds of new startups currently emerging from Sydney, a greater focus needs to be placed on plans to involve the entire country in our nation’s innovation push, and to boost Tasmania’s role in this effort.

When it comes to innovation, the Turnbull Government has been a big disappointment to Tasmania – it has failed to properly support Tasmanian schools, it has failed to roll out the NBN, and it has backed cuts to CSIRO jobs.

Malcolm Turnbull talks a big game, but his disappointingly hollow innovation statement came nowhere near restoring the $3 billion cut from science, research and innovation, and he has given no indication that he will do so.

Unlike the Turnbull Government, the Labor Opposition team led by Bill Shorten has announced a raft of meaningful policies to back the talent of Australians wherever they live.

This includes a $16 million Regional Innovation Fund supporting an expansion of the network of hubs and accelerators across the country with a special focus on regional and rural Australia.

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. These hubs could provide support to regional entrepreneurs in various ways, including by:

  • Addressing skills and experience gaps by enabling established entrepreneurs from various parts of the country to team up with regional accelerators and mentor new startups; and/or

  • Enabling university-based accelerators to offer seed funding for a limited number of student-led startups on a competitive basis to support prototyping and early proof-of-concept.

Labor’s approach will be flexible, underpinned by consultations with stakeholders in rural and regional Australia to ensure investment reinforces local economic strengths and priorities or helps diversity economic activity.

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

  • 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.

That’s on top of Labor’s positive plan to make sure every child in every school has equal opportunity – delivering the Gonski reforms on time and in full.

It’s on top of Labor’s TAFE guarantee and our plan for a student funding guarantee for universities, securing sustainable university funding without $100,000 degrees.

If you haven’t got a plan for education, you haven’t got a plan for innovation. Malcolm Turnbull has neither.

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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