Jobs and growth
Sticking to our national economic plan for jobs and growth in a stronger, new and more diversified economy
Australians are rich with ideas. We must back our entrepreneurs in order to keep pace with other countries. Investing in innovation will create new jobs and products, solve problems and keep our living standards high.
Australia has the fundamentals in place to be an innovation leader. Australians are educated, skilful and resourceful and we need to capitalise on these strengths to boost business activity and innovation. Over 280,000 new businesses were established in Australia during 2014-15. We need to support them to get involved in innovation and help those with high growth potential to succeed by overcoming the challenges of collaboration and risk-taking.
The $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda is making it easier for Australians in rural, regional and city areas right across the country to undertake research in collaboration with industry and develop their ideas into new products and services for Australia and the world.
To be a truly innovative nation, a culture of entrepreneurship and ideas is necessary in all sectors of the economy — including healthcare, education, agriculture, defence, transport, information and communications technology and financial technology (FinTech).
The National Innovation and Science Agenda will continue to encourage entrepreneurs to innovate by improving collaboration and access to capital. This will be achieved by providing tax incentives for investments in early stage innovation companies, encouraging collaborative research and attracting new talent from overseas as well as removing unnecessary regulation.
Data61 — a merger of National ICT Australia and CSIRO’s digital research unit — will create Australia’s largest data innovation group, develop cutting edge technology and improve industry cyber security.
The Government's Digital Transformation Office (DTO) delivers a better experience for Australians when they access government services online. An additional $18.8 million over five years will allow the DTO to create a Digital Marketplace to make it easier for small and medium enterprises and startups to deliver digital services to government, helping to support Australian innovators and entrepreneurs.
The Government is ensuring entrepreneurs can access the funds to develop an idea and make it succeed. Employee Share Schemes enable staff to share in the success of the business from the early stages by providing an option to acquire shares in the company. They can better align the employee’s interests to those of the company. Recent reforms will make Employee Share Schemes more user-friendly by reducing the disclosure requirements.
Improving bankruptcy and insolvency laws will reduce the stigma associated with failure and foster enterprise innovation in Australia. This will strike a better balance between encouraging entrepreneurship and protecting creditors.
The Government is increasing access to company losses through improvements to our tax system. This means that entrepreneurs and loss–making startups are encouraged to remain agile and seek out new opportunities to innovate and grow.
Promoting innovative firms, better services and lower prices for consumers
The Government is promoting stronger, more competitive markets to strengthen Australia’s transitioning economy, support more jobs and deliver greater choice and lower prices for all Australians.
The Government is advancing the recommendations of the Harper Competition Policy Review, the first major review of Australia’s competition framework in more than 20 years and a key election commitment.
Competition allows inventive Australians to back themselves by building a business and bringing new products to market, or finding new ways of providing better services and better value for consumers.
The Government believes all businesses — big and small — should compete on their merits and not be unfairly excluded by rivals. That is why we are strengthening Australia’s competition law to prevent big businesses from misusing their market power or seeking to dominate markets.
The Government is working with the States and Territories to develop a new competition and productivity enhancing agreement to drive ambitious reform across all levels of government. This will build on the legacy of the National Competition Policy reforms undertaken in the 1990s, which directly contributed to increasing Australia’s GDP by at least 2.5 per cent, equivalent to $40 billion in today’s economy.
The Productivity Commission will review how human services are delivered by government to lay the groundwork for future reforms, innovation, improved consumer choice, high quality services and better outcomes.
The Government is also removing parallel import restrictions, which will lower book prices for students and families. Through our Regulatory Reform Agenda, we will review and remove unnecessary barriers to competition and innovation throughout the economy.
Supporting innovation and competition in financial services through new business ideas and financial technologies — FinTech
Global disruption in financial services is changing the way the world does business. Australia must keep pace with innovation to stay competitive.
Financial technology — or FinTech — is changing how businesses and consumers interact, enabling new products and services which enhance competition and create new jobs right across the economy. This is why the Government is supporting FinTech as part of our innovation future.
The Government’s FinTech Statement is our plan for a strong and vibrant FinTech industry. This Budget announces a number of initiatives which further this plan and will drive expansion of Australia’s financial services exports across the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia’s FinTech industry is already gaining prominence, with nine Australian companies listed amongst the leading global FinTech innovators in 2015. We will build on this by promoting Australia internationally as a FinTech destination — ensuring we seize the opportunity to boost Australian jobs.
The Government believes that our financial system can support a ‘regulatory sandbox’, where FinTech businesses can test their ideas and business models.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will shortly release a consultation paper on a regulatory sandbox exemption to enable entrepreneurs to test ideas for up to six months with a limited number of retail clients and up to prescribed investment thresholds. Certain consumer protections will be maintained.
Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, has the potential to revolutionise transactions. Data61, part of CSIRO, will review opportunities for its application across government and the private sector, and undertake concurrent pilot testing in areas such as sharable registry information and verifiable supply chains.
GST on digital currencies (such as Bitcoin)
The Government has released a consultation paper on changing the GST treatment of digital currencies. This change will ensure that consumers are no longer ‘double taxed’ when using digital currencies to buy goods and services already subject to GST.
The Government is developing a Digital Marketplace for businesses to compete for government information and communications technology (ICT) work. Large scale ICT projects will be broken into individual components to allow more innovative solutions.
Increasing data use
Effective data use is integral for an efficient, modern economy. The Productivity Commission is investigating ways to improve data availability and use across the public and private sectors.
The Government will undertake a study into the costs and benefits of electronic invoicing (eInvoicing) by agencies. eInvoicing could improve efficiency by 60‑80 per cent with annual savings to the economy of up to $10 billion.
This furthers our ambition to explore FinTech solutions that reduce administrative burdens for businesses.