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Australian Government puts science at centre of industry collaboration

2 September 2014

Science and research are at the centre of the Australian Government’s industry policy which is focussed on lifting Australia’s rate of business and research collaboration to deliver commercial outcomes, economic growth and productivity gains.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane today joined Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb at the launch of the report Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future.

“I welcome Professor Chubb’s report, in particular his focus on using science to make Australian businesses more competitive.  This complements the work the Government has been undertaking through the development of its National Industry Investment and Competitiveness Agenda to determine the economic infrastructure and industry policy directions that will create the businesses and jobs of the future – in sectors where Australia has competitive strengths,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Science will be essential to laying the foundation of this new industry policy as the nation’s businesses evolve to keep pace with changes in global markets and consumer attitudes.

“It’s no accident that science is in the Industry Portfolio.  The work of Australian scientists is one of our national competitive advantages; they have an increasingly important role in giving Australia an innovative edge in the global economy – if we can draw science and business closer.

“Australia has a strong record of generating good ideas, but the Government wants to encourage more activity that will get these good ideas to market in a way that creates jobs and business growth.

“Australia is not performing when it comes to collaboration between business and research. We’re last in the OECD countries on collaboration with higher education or public research institutions.

“Boosting our rate of collaboration will be essential for business growth and competitiveness and to create the next wave of jobs in Australian industry that are based on sophisticated skills in sustainable sectors where Australia has a competitive edge.

“The Government is working to create the right environment in which businesses will invest, including through the $484 million Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme and the $476 million Industry Skills Fund. These are part of a broader strategy to create new connections between industry and researchers.

“Australian industry isn’t about handouts and a Government knows-best mentality. It’s about creating the catalyst infrastructure to develop new ideas and new products, sharing knowledge and unleashing the potential for creativity and growth in Australian businesses.

“Scientists and researchers have a central role in making sure the framework delivers real-world outcomes, including productivity gains and new jobs.

“The Australian Government looks forward to working with Professor Chubb on our shared goals of strengthening the role of science in the community and using it in ways that make us more competitive.”

The Government is working with Professor Chubb to convene a reinvigorated Science Council. The Council will advise the Government on its long term strategic science and research investment.

Media contact: Minister's office 02 6277 7070