Govt to spend $1.1b to drive an 'ideas boom'

LEADING researchers have dubbed the Federal Government's innovation plan as a "turning point" for science and technology in Australia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday announced the government would spend about $1.1 billion over the next four years to promote business-led research and innovation.

Mr Turnbull said the plan would drive an "ideas boom".

"Unlike a mining boom, it is a boom that can continue forever, it is limited only by our imagination, and I know that Australians believe in themselves, I know that we are a creative and imaginative nation," he said.

The innovation plan includes $106 million in tax incentives for investors providing seed funding, $75m to the CSIRO data research group Data 61, $30m for a Cyber Security Growth Centre, $10m over four years towards a $250m Biomedical Translation Fund which private-partnerships will also help fund.

Australian Academy of Science's science policy secretary Professor Les Field said Australia had been lagging other countries in commercialising research ideas.

"This new agenda represents a turning point. It means we can grow an economy based on our outstanding science, and which makes the best use of our significant scientific capital," he said.

"For a long time Australia has lagged behind many other countries when it comes to commercialising ideas from universities and research organisations."

Australia's chief scientist Professor Ian Chubb said the plan was a "very, very substantial step forward".

"We should all know by now that we have to change. We can't rely forever on luck and an expectation of a never-ending supply of resources that the world wants," he said.

Labor announced an innovation policy last week suggested similar tax breaks for investors as well as a federal agency with hubs across regional Australia.

"Currently the two-thirds of all the start-ups and innovation are starting in Sydney - but Labor has a vision of Australia that is more than the three large east coast cities," Mr Shorten said on Friday.

- APN NEWSDESK



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