Hunt: The changing face of Australian innovation


New innovation minister Greg Hunt has positioned biotechnology as part of government's medium to long term plan for transforming the Australian economy.

Mr Hunt was speaking at the DuluxGroup following his recent appointment to succeed Christopher Pyne as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. He had spent the previous decade in the environment portfolio, in opposition and government.

According to Mr Hunt, when it comes to innovation the government has short, medium and long term plans.

"In the short term it's about making sure that we have, at the smaller level, the business advisers and the entrepreneurs program, the R&D incentives, which have benefitted firms right across Australia such as Dulux.

"In the medium term it's about the venture capital and the biotech and the CSIRO funds.

"And in the longer term it's about our investment in science and maths for young people, and also in the super-science of the Synchrotron and the Square Kilometre Array," said Mr Hunt.

Mr Hunt will now oversee implementation of government's National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical sectors are a key focus of the agenda, starting with the $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund.

Mr Hunt's promotion of the Coalition's innovation agenda is set against the backdrop of its proposed cut in the value of the popular R&D Tax Incentive. The measure, which is budgeted to save around $1 billion over the forward estimates, is strongly opposed by the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors and failed to win parliamentary support during the Coalition's first term. However, Labor announced it would support the cut during the recent election campaign.