Time for certainty and practical support


Amid the sudden shock of COVID 19 to our society and economy, AusBiotech has joined the growing chorus of businesses calling for the Government to fast track RDTI cash refunds and drop the proposed plans to cut the landmark programme.

AusBiotech calls on the Government to fast track Research and Development Tax Incentive (RDTI) cash refunds, due in and to commit now to dropping the RDTI Bill that is before a Senate Inquiry.

Life science companies are working around the clock on essential research and development of vaccines, repurposed and emerging therapies, as well as test kits, including to combat COVID-19.

The critical nature of this RDTI for the life sciences sector is more evident than ever before.

Lorraine Chiroiu, CEO, AusBiotech says: “On behalf of more than 1,000 Australian companies developing new biotechnologies, and more than 3,000 petition signatories from a cross section of industries, I call on Government to fast track the RDTI cash refund claims for the 2019-20 financial year. I also urge the abandonment of the RDTI Bill.”

“For the majority of life science companies working in a pre-revenue stage, the refund claims are critical to continuing clinical trials. It is a way that Government can directly help in the global pandemic response, without spending any net new money.

“The time is right for practical support and certainty, so that biotechnology companies can continue their critical work.”

AusBiotech’s research report R&D Tax Incentive: Additionality and spillovers for the life sciences industry, found that 61 per cent of respondents advised that the proposed changes to the RDTI would not only affect their expenditure on R&D but would also threaten the sustainability of their businesses.

The RDTI is the most critical programme in supporting the Government’s stated policy objective – to improve Australia’s performance when it comes to the commercialisation of medical research, and the vast majority of SMEs and companies in life sciences will be disadvantaged in their claims if the proposed changes in the Bill go ahead. This in turn will impact on the capacity of the sector to deliver new treatments and technologies and patients may miss out on early access, if their country does not play a role in developing life science innovations, or conduct clinical trials.

AusBiotech lodged two submissions earlier this month, strongly opposing the Research and Development Tax Incentive Bill that is in front of a Senate Inquiry, after repeatedly urging that the reform legislation be delayed until the details, mechanics and impacts are better understood and can be mitigated.

The Senate Inquiry’s reporting date has now been extended to 7 August 2020. Previously scheduled public hearings have been postponed until further notice, and will possibly be held via teleconference. Parliament has been suspended until 11 August.