LaunchVic Gala, Centrepiece, Melbourne Park


Address to LaunchVic, Victoria's startup agency at Centrepiece, Melbourne Park.

ED HUSIC, MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY AND SCIENCE: Thank you, Rae, and I wanted to start first by acknowledging the traditional owners, the members of the Kulin nation, and pay my respects to elders past, present, emerging. Rae, I think you grew up on Darug land. I represent an electorate that sits on Darug land, and I want to acknowledge that on my own turf they are the custodians in my area. I think when you listened to Rae at the start, it was important we remember and acknowledge that the first innovators in this country were our First Nations people who had to work out how to survive on one of the toughest continents on the planet, and the way that they did that needs to be respected, but also, if I may say, will be one of the things that in terms of science policy and innovation federally, we will be making a dedicated effort to bringing that to prominence and to support that and merge knowledge bases between First Nations and western knowledge in a way that will make a difference.


ED HUSIC: Yes. We haven’t done it before. It is a real pleasure to be here. Just to let you know, I think the first gala I attended was in 2015. Who was here? There would be a lot of you. You can stick your hands up. There’s a lot of you. We’re taking names! But it was always good to be here and to now see LaunchVic is maintaining this, bringing us together, we went through a couple of – I mean the nation went through, but particularly Victoria, what you went through in the last few years, and to be able to come back to something like this. If you were to stand up here and see, you cannot even see the people at the back, it is so full. It is very good, and can I just say to someone who has – 

[Cheering and applause.]

ED HUSIC: Yes. Yes, I was talking about you. Everyone forgets the people down the back. I want to not only say thank you to LaunchVic for doing this and bringing us together and maintaining this tradition, but also if I can acknowledge someone who has had that energy and dedication and devotion to your community here in Victoria, Kate Cornick. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


ED HUSIC: And the reason I enjoy coming here over all those years was because you got to see people who had to have within them a deep core of belief. They had to stare down failure or go through it themselves and they would get recognised at those galas and then they would be recognised here and supported. It’s this type of stuff. I can go through all the things I’m doing at a federal level. We’re going to stand up one of the biggest co-investment funds that will support the translation of ideas and action with the National Reconstruction Fund, $15 billion. Within there, a $1 billion sub-fund on critical technologies that we want to drive – in particular, the support to keep and sharpen our region things like, for example, quantum computing, so we can develop the sovereign capability instead of importing it and buying it off someone else. I can talk to you about Startup Year. We’re going set up Startup Year where university students, we will extend to them one year of HECS funding if they stay on with the university‑based accelerator or incubator to start their own firm – 2,000 firms. This is new. This is ground-breaking stuff.  


We have replenished the national science priorities that haven’t been replenished since 2015. A National Science Statement, rework research investment in this country because we can do well, much better than the 1.79 per cent GDP that’s we’ve got compared to OECD of three per cent – got to lift that up as well. That’s what we’re going to do. A National Quantum Strategy and, on top of that, in a few weeks the Critical Technology Statement that will list what we value, what we prioritise and what we think we need to work together on.

But in mentioning all of that, the most important thing is not rattling off programs and listing all that. What is important is what we need to all do is to reinvigorate that belief in the power of Australian ideas and know‑how. And to not think that for every problem we’ve got in this country that the starting point is to look to see how someone else solved it, because you do it every day. You are out there with others solving problems, and what we need to do – and I’ll tell you one of the great things that happened tonight when the Government mentioned Seer Medical, what did you all do? You all applauded. You backed other idea‑makers and risk‑takers in, and it might not seem like a lot to you, but that’s what we need to do more of in this country. And the good thing is that in a Victorian context I get to work together with someone like Jaala Pulford who I’ve known since my twenties. If you’re smart, you’ll say that was only a few years ago! But Jaala and I share that conviction, and we get to work now bringing Federal and State together the National Reconstruction Fund, the breakthrough fund, bringing that together, and that’s how Governments should work. And the other thing I might say is even though we’re two Labor people, I don’t care if they’re Labor or Liberal or Independent or whatever. If we’re joined by a belief in making a stronger system here, then we should work together, politics put aside in the national interest.


ED HUSIC: And the last thing that I want to implore you to recognise, please, is that not only do I respect what you’re doing here in Victoria, but I’m talking it up as someone from New South Wales and you never hear that! But I’m here, saying I do respect what you do, and we need to do this at the national level, and we need to be able to bind together to make that a reality. Well done to you all. Well done to LaunchVic. Let’s get this done.