23 August 2011 - The research and development reforms passed in the Parliament today increase support for small and medium sized businesses, particularly after the Greens secured amendments to help the cash-flow of these companies which are the engine room of innovation in Australia.
The agreement to make quarterly cash payments to small and medium-sized companies, instead of annual tax credits, was reached after a lengthy consultation by the Greens with a broad range of industry representatives.
“Imagination is the resource of the 21st century,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
“Innovation is critical to our economy, to our health, to our environment and it is vital that government support for innovation is as effective and efficient as possible
“Australia has been left behind in recent decades, with not only the loss of manufacturing jobs to low wage economies but also the failure of manufacturers to innovate when they had such low cost resources.
“Increasing productivity through innovation now has to be Australia’s top priority.
“With these important structural reforms, much more support will be delivered to the small and medium-sized enterprises which are genuinely the engine-room of innovation in Australia.
“The amendment secured by the Greens will help even more, ensuring that those smaller companies will have access to the cash-flow they need to drive their ideas from innovation through to market.”
The breakthrough on the legislation came as a result of an innovative political process initiated by The Greens which featured a round table representing stakeholders from different perspectives and representatives of Treasury and several departments and the minister’s office.
Greens MP, Adam Bandt, who took over the Science, Research, Industry and Innovation portfolio in the recent Greens reshuffle, said “Melbourne is a hub for innovation, particularly in the biotechnology sector.
“Small and medium-sized businesses in Melbourne engaged in research and innovation will now find it much easier to access government support, and be able to get quarterly payments that much better meet their cash-flow needs.”
“This new R&D tax regime will dovetail with new investments in the clean economy that the Greens were able to secure in the carbon price negotiations.”
“For Australia to maintain a prosperous and competitive economy beyond the mining boom we will need to further invest in innovation and research and development.”
“A key to driving this investment will be the government setting a goal of 3% of GDP to be invested in R&D across the economy. This will take us above the OECD average and bring us into line with Germany and Japan.”
“I look forward to working with industry in the coming months to continue to build on Senator Milne’s important work to support research and innovation.”