20/10/2014 - 16:54

Feds push innovation agenda

20/10/2014 - 16:54

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Encouraging employee share ownership, reform in vocational education and training, increasing skilled immigration, and the establishment of industry growth centres will be key planks in the federal government’s new industry innovation and competitiveness agenda, released last week.

Feds push innovation agenda

Encouraging employee share ownership, reform in vocational education and training, increasing skilled immigration, and the establishment of industry growth centres will be key planks in the federal government’s new industry innovation and competitiveness agenda, released last week.

The centrepiece of the government’s new industry policy will be $189 million over four years to create growth centres in agribusiness; mining equipment, technology and services; energy resources; medical technology; and advanced manufacturing.

Business-led consortia will bid to run the non-profit centres, which will be designed to encourage commercial research and development partnerships between industry and the research sector.

The centres will be expected to be self-sufficient after the four years of allocated funding expires.

In agribusiness, the government said significant growth in processed food exports would require changes across the supply chain.

The agribusiness growth centre would enable research about consumer preferences in Asia, particularly taste and packaging, to be passed on to small and medium enterprises.

Generally, only multinational companies can afford such research.

The centre would also offer advice on marketing, exporting, and intellectual property protection in Asian markets.

Employee share schemes will also be reformed, with changes under the previous government, such as the taxation of employee share options when they vest, contributing to a stark fall in the provision of these options to employees.

The government has said it would make some small changes to the taxation treatment of the schemes, with startups avoiding up front taxation, and options taxed at the point of exercise rather than vesting.

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