The Greens party wants a high-tech jobs-rich pollution-free future

Senator Richard Di Natale has weighed in on the future of Australia debate, telling the National Press Club audience he wants an innovative future for the nation that partners positively with the environment.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale wants a high-tech jobs-rich pollution-free future for Australia, one that invests in research and education that works for both people and for the environment.

Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Di Natale said that beyond the clean energy revolution, his party's vision is for an innovative, entrepreneurial, cleaner, and fairer economy.

"Central to this vision is investing in education; it's investing in research and development and making it easier to establish the industries of tomorrow," he said.

"We want to apply the same creativity that we use in establishing the clean energy package to areas of the digital economy, in health research, the service economy, agricultural innovation, high-end advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, robotics, and those future technologies that we can't even conceive of right now.

"These new horizon industries are the pathways to a high-tech jobs-rich pollution-free future. Let's embrace it."

Di Natale said that in order to be successful we need to bridge what Larry Marshall, CSIRO CEO calls "the valley of death", which is the grey area between fundamental research and commercialisation.

"Australia can't afford to have a graveyard of terrific ideas. We can't afford for our best minds to leave our shores, to take opportunities somewhere else. But to achieve that, we need to recognise that the marketplace alone won't deliver this economy of the 21st century, that there is a strong role for governments to play," the Greens leader said. "Indeed if we're to learn the lessons of past decades it's to acknowledge that blind faith in unregulated markets is a mistake."

"If the prime minister is genuinely interested in ditching the mind-numbing three-word slogans, in having a mature debate about the direction of this country, I welcome that. Eventually, though, he'll need to put some meat on those bones. It's one thing to talk a good game...it's another thing altogether to deliver.

"My only advice to Malcolm Turnbull is this: There are very few things as dangerous in politics as high expectations without the capacity or conviction to deliver on those expectations."

Earlier, the Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science Christopher Pyne said Australia's national income is under pressure as a result of the "winding down" of the resources boom. He said with commodity prices softening, our economy is in transition.

"The Government is well aware of the reality for many machinery and equipment manufacturers affected by declining mining investment. Productivity growth is the key to competitiveness, jobs growth, and ultimately our living standards; in turn it's driven by innovation," he said.

"The Australian Government is creating the environment to commercialise the research through our Cooperative Research Centres and Industry Growth Centres; we're also providing business focused support."

Last week, Pyne said driving innovation is important for jobs and growth. He said that whilst the Liberal Government wants to encourage ideas for greater innovation and entrepreneurship, they need to be good ideas. He said for the past two years, his party has worked to drive innovation, and admitted, however, there is much more to be done. He also added that more would be said in the months ahead.

Pyne's remarks followed an announcement made earlier that day by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who pledged AU$17.8 million for a startup initiative he hopes will drive a new generation of innovators, risk-takers, and wealth-creators. He said he wants 2,000 students to partake in a 'Startup Year' whilst at university to "develop their ideas, get business know-how, and connect with finance", adding that whilst Australia has some "great startups", the country currently has one of the lowest rates of startup formation in the world.

"It is estimated that we will need another 100,000 IT workers in Australia by 2020," Shorten said. "Labor wants Australians to have the skills and support to create the jobs of the future, not just fill them; the majority of jobs to be created over the next decade and beyond will be in companies that don't exist today."

Pyne rebutted, highlighting that his party believes innovation has to be more than a political buzzword, adding he believes it is the "only option for our economy if we are to maintain our current standard of living".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said at the time that if Australia wants to remain a prosperous, first-world economy with a generous social welfare safety net, we must be "more competitive, and more productive".

"Above all, we must be more innovative," Turnbull said. "We have to work more agilely, more innovatively, we have to be more nimble in the way we seize the enormous opportunities that are presented to us. We're not seeking to proof ourselves against the future. We are seeking to embrace it."

Singapore-based startup mentors list on the ASX

A coaching service for startups and entrepreneurs has become the latest Singapore tech company to list on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), following the successful raising of AU$2.7 million.

iBosses, which offers a mentoring program that takes wannabe startups from start to finish, made a fairly flat market debut on Wednesday, with its shares managing a rise of just one cent to 21 cents after they began trading at 1300 AEST.

The company, which has offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, hopes to gain a foothold in Australia's burgeoning tech scene.

The ASX debut follows that of fellow Singapore tech companies, including Netccentric, iProperty, MigMe and Fatfish Internet.

iBosses has an eight-step mentoring program, which breaks down the stages of idea creation, fundraising and commercialisation to help methodically build startups from the ground up.

Clients pay a AU$192,263 fee for the program, the funds of which make up the primary income for iBosses. The company's other key product is an online enterprise training course which clients can subscribe to for AU$99 a month.

Founder and chief executive Dr Patrick Khor said he planned to use the money iBosses raised from its share market float to upgrade its online course and expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Khor touted the group's connections to Asian consumers and investors as a key attraction for entrepreneurs.

"There's really interesting technology initiated by Australia. We see it as a really good bridge between Asia and the western world, and we feel like there are a lot of iBosses partnerships we can do here," he said.

This is the fourth startup for Dr Khor, who has a high profile among entrepreneurs in Singapore.

He sold his first business, education supplier PATH education in 2006 for AU$15 million, and has since taught as a senior lecturer for entrepreneurship development at Temasek Polytechnic Singapore to more than 20,000 students.

With AAP