The government has responded to Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation, a report published by the Office of Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) in January this year.
Of 30 recommendations made by ISA, the Government has stated its support for 17 and “in-principle” support for 10 more.
Following its release, STA applauded the Report’s focus on improving the “quality, value and volume of Australian research and development funded by industry” and welcomed recommendations that focused on enhancing the national culture of innovation.
The three recommendations not supported in the government’s response were a call to conduct a review of the vocational education and training (VET) system, and two important recommendations around the reforming of the Research and Development Tax Incentive – which includes setting a floor for government investment in science, research and innovation support as a proportion of GDP (0.63%).
STA is concerned by the lack of support for the recommendation to redirect savings made by reforming the R&D Tax Incentive to fund business R&D programs like Cooperative Research Centres, Industry Growth Centres and the like.
With projected savings of $2.4 billion over the next four years through changes in the latest Federal Budget, this means less investment in valuable applied research.
STA is also disappointed that the recommended “collaboration premium” to incentivise businesses to work with academic and public research institutions has also only been noted in the Government’s response.
The recommendations supported by the Government cover improvements to STEM education; better support for science and maths teachers; enhanced support for Australian businesses to international markets; and a commitment to establish an innovation culture in Australia through national missions.
In the recent Federal Budget, National Research Infrastructure and the first of the National Missions in genomics received funding support.