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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11553


Mr HASTIE (Canning) (14:10): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update the House on the outcomes of her recent visit to the United States and the importance of global cooperation in innovation to create jobs and grow the economy?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:10): I thank the member for Canning for his question. I take this opportunity to congratulate him on his election to this place and the contribution that he has already made to the House.

Innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of productivity, economic growth and job creation. It is vital that we encourage and support innovation within our nation. Indeed, the Prime Minister has already announced that innovation is a key priority for this government. And while my recent visit to the United States was centred on the annual Australia-US foreign and defence ministerial dialogue, AUSMIN, I also had the opportunity to meet leading entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, designers, film and production professionals, and technology, social media and software experts. A good number of them were young Australians. Indeed, our young Australians are seizing opportunities to seek out new ideas and taking risks to pursue their goals, whether those are in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley or the Bay area in San Francisco.

Australians have founded and, in some cases, are leading new technology companies, like Nitro or CloudPeeps, Kaggle and venture capital companies like Sequoia. These companies are revolutionising the way we live and the way we work—for example, in areas like document management and in transforming the nature of freelance work. Indeed, they are looking to the Australian government to create the environment that would enable them to bring these opportunities back here to Australia. They are employing literally hundreds of people as their businesses grow, and they include many Australians. They are at the cutting edge of innovation.

During my meetings I sought their views on what more this government could do to embrace and support an innovation agenda within this country, and to make ours a more creative economy that supports our innovative and creative thinkers. The suggestions ranged from changes to the education sector, more flexibility in workplace relations and easier access to venture capital to a culture of risk taking. Most importantly, was the embracing by the public and private sectors of the need to innovate and to pursue opportunities to change the way we do things.

This should apply across government, and I have established within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade an innovation hub called the innovationXchange. This is revolutionising the way we manage our aid budget and has solved the more difficult and enduring aid development problems in our region. This is bringing together the brightest and most creative minds not only from the private sector but from the public sector, and we have secondments from the World Bank and USAID. Through the innovationXchange we are transforming the way that we increase economic growth and reduce poverty in our region.

This government is determined to ensure that innovation will be the driver of new jobs and economic growth. (Time expired)