Alex McCauley, the chief executive of StartupAUS, said in a statement that Australia seemed to be "otherwise trending worryingly towards tech-phobia".
"Following the continued decline in R&D and the ongoing confusion around the R&D Tax Incentive, Shorten's promise to invest in industry shows welcome signs of leadership for a sector feeling under attack," he said.
In the Budget, announced on Tuesday, the government cut $1.35 billion from the R&D tax incentive to add to a sum of more than $2 billion that was cut in the previous budget.
"It's a promising sentiment to see an active focus on R&D. We could add a lot of new and emerging industries to Shorten's list – including, of course, 'software', which is going to drive economic growth globally in the next few decades," he said.
McCauley described the decline of R&D across the economy as "a huge red flag for Australia, so it's encouraging to see Labor's platform starting to address the issue".
"Labor has also previously committed to doubling aggregate R&D spending in Australia by 2030 - a very positive target that will take lots of creative thinking and ambition to achieve."
He said while Labor's support for R&D and new industries was welcome, the public was still looking for leadership on technology's critical role in the economic future of the country.
"In stark contrast to the priority given to innovation and technology in the 2016 election, neither major party has outlined a credible strategic vision for how we're going to maintain our prosperity in a new tech-led era," McCauley added.
"We're hoping our politicians step up in the election campaign to outline their vision and plan for Australia's economic future."