Good news for innovation in the Australian Government’s 2012/13 budget

In a budget which fairly aggressively attempts to save on government spending, the good news delivered yesterday for the innovation sector in Australia was not what was promised, but rather what was not slashed.

The headlines include:

  • an increase in funding to Commercialisation Australia to total $294.1 million over the next 4 years
  • clearer detail on the rate of spend on clean technology programs which will ultimately total $1.2 billion but is loaded to spend $110 million this coming financial year and $624 million in the 3 years following
  • $29.8 million for the creation of the Manufacturing Technology Innovation Centre which will aim to link large manufacturers, R & D organisations, SMEs and industry groups to develop and promote new technologies
  • an extension of the Enterprise Connect program to include tourism initiatives, but a cut in its funding by about 20% in each of the next 2 years
  • continued support for the Small Business Advisory Services program valued at $27.5 million over 4 years.

It had been suggested to the Government that it might wind back the newly created R&D tax credit scheme expected to be worth $1.8 billion in 2012/13, but these recommendations have thankfully been ignored.