Labor says the Government's innovation “agenda” is not worth the paper it is written on.
It has been over a year since the Government announced its ‘Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda’ and business and industry are still waiting to see the results, said Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Research, Industry and Innovation.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has focussed on the importance of innovation to the Australian economy in his speeches since winning the top job.
"The agenda’s hollow statements are no match for two Budgets which cut well over $3 billion from science, research and innovation," said Senator Carr.
Senator Carr pointed to confirmation in the Senate from Cabinet Secretary, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, that the Government plans to proceed with its cut to the R&D Tax Incentive.
Under the proposal, the R&D Tax Incentive will be cut by 1.5 per cent – to 43.5 per cent for eligible entities with annual turnover under $20 million and 38.5 per cent for all other eligible entities.
The proposal, which would come on top of recent changes that cap claims under the scheme, is being opposed by Labor and the Greens.
According to Senator Carr, the Government has consistently undermined innovation by cutting support to existing programs, replacing them with inferior programs.
"Liberals abolished Enterprise Connect and Commercialisation Australia in their disastrous 2014 Budget, undermining government support for the critical link between a great business idea and getting it to market," he said.
"Their five industry ‘Growth Centres’ are nothing but a cheap imitation of Labor’s Innovation Precincts but with less than half the funding.
"The Liberals cut the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program by $107 million in the past two budgets and haven’t held a single competitive funding round for new CRCs," he added.