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Australia’s $1bn innovation plan to benefit Australian exports
21 Feb 2013
The Australian Government has unveiled a $1 billion program to support Australia’s businesses and industries, including exporters struggling with the strong Australian dollar.
The Australian Government’s Industry and Innovation Statement details plans to invest more than $500 million in up to 10 Industry Innovation Precincts to help bring research and business together with a view to getting more new ideas to market.
“This is an idea that’s been put to us by the business community, that business leads research that is designed to deploy technologies, improve the competitiveness of industry and access international markets,” Minister for Industry and Innovation Greg Combet told ABC television.
The Government’s strategy would help link smaller companies with larger ones, as well with research institutions, to commercialise technologies and achieve the scale necessary to market them to Asia and elsewhere.
There will be two types of precincts, those in areas of the economy where Australia already has a competitive advantage and those in areas where there are emerging opportunities with strong export potential. The Government has named manufacturing and food as the first two precincts, with the remaining ones to be selected through an industry-led bidding process.
High-performing small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating within the precincts will have access to the Growth Opportunities and Leadership Development (GOLD) service to help them reach their potential. Services include bringing research into businesses and helping SMEs expand their markets.
Business support services, including Austrade, will partner to deliver GOLD services. Other partners are Enterprise Connect, Commercialisation Australia, AusIndustry, and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation.
In addition, the plan creates Venture Australia, which includes fresh funding of $350 million to start-ups with promise.
Also part of the plan, the Government will help Australian businesses gain access to major domestic projects. Under changes to Australian Industry Participation, a domestic project worth $500 million or more must detail how it will provide opportunities in Australia and projects worth $2 billion or more must embed Australian Industry Opportunity Officers in individual companies’ procurement and global supply offices to help promote Australian business in their global supply chain.
The plan also sets up the Australian Industry Participation Authority to oversee the changes, which could attract an extra $1.6 billion in new work for domestic companies.