The Federal Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) announced this week that it will conduct a review of Australia's national innovation system with the aim of cutting the red tape for inventive tech SMEs.
The government has assembled a panel of experts chaired by Dr Terry Cutler, CSIRO director and ICT strategy advisor, to helm the review as part of its Innovation Future for Australian Industry policy.
Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
"In today's economy, innovation policy is industry policy," said Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) in a statement.
"We need to find ways to increase innovation performance across the economy, to ensure that business has better access to new ideas and new technologies and to bridge the divide between industry and research," said Carr.
According to Carr, there are currently 169 innovation support programs across Australia at all levels of government and one of the central aims of the review will be to "examine the bewildering array of government innovation and industry assistance programs".
Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) CEO Sheryle Moon expressed her support for the review and encouraged the government to take measures to simplify its innovation incentive schemes.
"We are very supportive of any approach that would reduce duplication. Right now, there are a lot of options for SMEs, but they aren't all easily understood," said Moon.
"Not only do a lot of SMEs not understand what's on offer through these schemes, but the application process can be particularly onerous, especially the bidding and reporting procedures," she said.
Senator Carr said that the Federal government intended on working closely with the state and territory governments to streamline the process.
A DIISR spokesperson told said today the review will have no specific sectoral focus, meaning that ICT will have to vie with other industries to introduce reforms relevant to its own innovation funding process.
The spokesperson said that the panel will be investigating non-industry specific factors that can either inhibit or facilitate innovation such as tax rates, access to capital investment and regulation.
The panel will be expected to have completed the review and provide its report to the government by July this year, after which, the government will develop its response in the form of a whitepaper, due by the end of 2008.