Home Government Tech Policy StartupAUS critical of budget lack of focus on start-ups, innovation

StartupAUS critical of budget lack of focus on start-ups, innovation

StartupAUS, Australia's peak advocacy group for start-ups, says start-ups have “dropped off the radar” in the budget and the government has a lot to do to deliver on commitments to make Australia one of the best countries in the world for innovators.

The chief executive of StartupAUS, Alex McCauley, said innovation and entrepreneurship were not major focal points of the budget.

“There clearly isn't a focus on start-ups or innovation in this budget. That will certainly cause some frustration, because the government has done a lot to build expectations that it is committed to making Australia one of the best countries in the world for innovators. It still has a lot of work to do to deliver on that commitment.

“In his budget speech last year, on the back of the launch of the government’s laudable National Innovation and Science Agenda, Treasurer Scott Morrison said that ‘harnessing the power of innovation and entrepreneurship, to create our own ideas boom, lies at the heart of our plan to support jobs and create growth’.

“In this year’s speech, entrepreneurs were not mentioned. Start-ups seem to have dropped off the radar.

"Last night the Treasurer said that 'the signs of an improving global economy are there to see', and that he saw the 'potential for better days ahead'.

“Technology will play a big role in delivering economic value around the world in coming years – in order for Australia to benefit we must maintain a strong commitment to supporting the development of young, high-growth, innovative Australian businesses."

While welcoming the budget’s support for certain segments of the innovation sector, McCauley said the measures were modest, both in terms of their budget impact and their overall effect, and innovation and entrepreneurship were not major focal points.

McCauley acknowledged the government’s new measures in the budget to increase competition and access to data in the banking sphere, along with taxation reforms for digital currencies, which he said would help Australian fintech companies.

“It also includes plans to introduce crowd sourced equity funding for proprietary companies, which is a step forward for start-ups looking to raise crowdfunding. It's encouraging to see advanced manufacturing attracting additional support, too.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).