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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Page: 8467

Innovation and Science

Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory) (14:33): My question is to the Cabinet Secretary, Senator Sinodinos, representing the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. Will the minister tell the Senate what the government has done in the innovation and science area to grow the economy and create jobs?

Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:33): I thank Senator Seselja for his question. I can confirm that this government, under this Prime Minister, is going to provide economic leadership in the whole area of innovation and science to provide the jobs and growth of the 21st century. We are doing this through a number of measures to drive business and innovation. Specifically, we are assisting exporters to take advantage of the significant expansion of markets through the good work of the Minister for Trade and Investment—the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, free trade agreements with Korea and Japan and of course the trans-Pacific partnership. The trans-Pacific partnership in particular will give Australia's exporters unprecedented access to the world's leading markets while protecting our intellectual property, generating unique opportunities and incentives for our leading minds to generate great ideas.

Innovators today can take advantage of policies which were put in place by this government when we came to power two years ago. Small and medium sized enterprises are taking advantage of the tax cuts that were in this year's budget for small business. They can take advantage of the $482 million Entrepreneurs' Program, the flagship firm level initiative that continues to grow the economy and create jobs, and the Accelerating Commercialisation program, for business management and assistance with research connections. On top of that, we have our annual red tape repeal day in the House of Representatives today, which builds on $2 billion worth of cuts to red tape and regulation, to make businesses more nimble, agile and innovative.

Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory) (14:35): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Will the minister inform the Senate of ways the government is encouraging innovation and science achievement?

Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:35): It is very important that, where there is great success in Australian science and innovation, we note it, we mark it and we celebrate it. A few weeks ago in the Great Hall in parliament the government hosted the Prime Minister's science and innovation awards. There were new Australians awarded science prizes and innovation prizes, joining a long list of Australians who have made great discoveries in research and science.

There was an inaugural prize for innovation this year and it was won by Professor Graeme Jameson, with whom many people would be familiar. He works with the University of Newcastle, which happens to me my alma mater. He has created something called the Jameson cell—a technology that uses trillions of bubbles to capture and use coaldust that would otherwise be wasted. It is estimated that he has saved the Australian economy $36 billion because of the Jameson cell over the last few years. While I am on my feet, I also acknowledge Todd Williams, who is here from the RDA in the Hunter. He is doing great work in the innovation space. (Time expired)

Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory) (14:36): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Will the minister explain to the Senate what vision the government has for innovation and science and how this mission is a driving force for the future?

Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:36): The government acknowledges more work needs to be done to get the right settings for innovation and science policy. As the Prime Minister said, we have to work agilely, more innovatively; we have to be more nimble in the way we seize the opportunities that are presented to us. We are not seeking to proof ourselves against the future—we are seeking to embrace the future. The government is approaching the opportunities and challenges for Australia's innovation ecosystem with an open mind and fresh eyes. No eyes are more open, no eyes are more fresh, than those of the assistant minister, Wyatt Roy, who has hosted a successful hackathon event where the start-up community, business people, researchers and venture capitalists disrupted the bureaucracy with novel ideas. Our innovation and science package will complement what the government is already doing to create an Australian innovation ecosystem.