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Call for Northern Australian business to do more R&D.

The Business community in Queensland and Northern Territory needs to lift its game on RD activity, according to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Ted Lindsay.

Mr Lindsay was commenting on figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) last week which indicated that the combined Northern Territory and Queensland business community's research and development (RD) effort had shown a real increase of 6 per cent during 1992-93 .

"While this is commendable, the figure is well below the national average," Mr Lindsay said.

The ABS figures indicated that overall there had been an increase of 17 per cent in real terms for 1992-93 in RD expenditure reported by the business sector.

"The Federal Government has a number of programs from which businesses can obtain funds for RD. I am anxious that Northern Australian business makes full use of these opportunities," said Mr Lindsay.

"Among the opportunities are the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) which provide for industry participation in Federal government funded RD. The recent opening in Townsville of the $45 million CRC for Reef Research brought to 12 the number of CRCs operating in Queensland.

"The AusIndustry Industry Innovation Program introduced by the Federal Government is specially designed to assist firms to conduct research and development.

"The 150% tax concession is available for most profitable companies spending more than $20,000 on RD. Eligible companies can deduct up to 150% of their eligible expenditure on RD activities from their taxable incomes, reducing the after-tax cost of RD to just 50 cents in the dollar.

"In addition the Federal Government provides a complementary scheme of competitive grants for RD for firms who can't take advantage of the tax concession. The grants have recently been revamped and simplified to assist smaller innovative companies.

"The Government has also announced a further scheme to provide concessional loans for early commercialisation of innovations. These competitive loans will be open to technology-oriented firms with fewer than 100 employees," Mr Lindsay said.

Further information on any of these schemes can be obtained by calling the Industry Research and Development Board Hotline 008 026 121 which is toll free, Australia wide.

CANBERRA Contact: Andrew McCredie Luciano Lombardo NR554 Mr Lindsay's Office DIST

06 277 470406 276 1248