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Monday, 9 November 2015
Page: 12403


Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (Mackellar) (14:32): My question is to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. Will the minister update the House on action the government is already taking to place innovation and science at the centre of economic growth and the creation of jobs?

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science) (14:33): I thank the member for Mackellar for her question, because she, like all members on this side of the House, recognises that the government is committed to showing the economic leadership that will create the jobs and the growth that are necessary to provide wealth in our economy and jobs for our people.

We are doing this through a number of measures. Both the Treasurer and the Prime Minister so far in question time today have outlined a few of the measures that we are using to drive economic leadership in this country. Most recently, of course, we also passed the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement in the teeth of opposition from the union movement, but it was passed. We are also using innovation and science to drive economic leadership in this country. We are doing so through commercialising research and by bringing people back from overseas who have taken their talents elsewhere and improved on them; we want them to come back here and add to our skills.

We are doing it through training, through the skills and training of the workforce, and we are doing it by trying to create a better regime for start-ups, venture capital, capital gains tax treatment and income tax treatment. They are ways to encourage innovation and new businesses to get started. We are trying to create a culture where risk is embraced and initiative is enabled through the taking of risks. We recently announced the very well-received appointment of Dr Alan Finkel as the Chief Scientist. He is a classic example of an academic who is also a philanthropist and also a businessman. He will lead by example in the new innovation and science agenda. He replaces Ian Chubb, who for five years has been promoting science and laying some of the foundations for the government's reforms.

We are also showing the way by listening to what the sector is saying to us, because leadership is not just about talking; it is about listening to what the public are saying and it is about listening to the sector. For example, the Prime Minister, the assistant ministers for science and innovation and I attended the innovation roundtable at the University of Western Sydney, the economic summit that was held before that and the hackathon held by the Assistant Minister for Innovation. The Assistant Minister for Science has also just been to Singapore and South Korea, talking to people about how they have driven innovation in their economies. The Assistant Minister for Innovation has just returned from Israel, where he met with people to see how they have become an agile and nimble economy.

That is what we intend to bring about in this country over the coming years—an agile and nimble, optimistic and forward-looking economy, not the bleak view of the opposition and not the negativity, bleakness and the dark cloud of the opposition over the Australian economy. We are future looking. We are new politics; Labor is old politics. (Time expired)