Industry Spotlight

Support for innovation - real or rhetoric?

16 February 2017 via Biotech Dispatch: The Turnbull government’s approach to innovation will be tested in the months ahead. Is it real or just rhetoric?

Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as prime minister in 2015 and actively promoted ‘innovation’ as fundamental to Australia’s future prosperity.

“…we all understand that our future prosperity depends on us being more productive and more competitive, more technologically sophisticated perhaps above all more innovative in the years ahead, that is clear,” he told a meeting of ‘Economic Leaders’ convened by his new government in October 2015.

Medical innovation has consistently been at the centre of government’s policy focus, certainly its rhetoric, with both the prime minister, his health and innovation ministers, positioning it as central to its own strategic agenda.

Every organisation supporting the research-based sector, notably Medicines Australia and AusBiotech, have warned against the proposed cap. They believe it will have a devastating impact on the sector and the innovation eco-system, threatening investment in early stage companies and clinical trials, ultimately undermining government’s wider policy agenda.

Most believe the truth behind the proposed cap is a savings target. More will probably be revealed in the May Budget, but the signs are not good, and the obvious point to make is government’s commitment to Budget repair might trump its commitment to innovation.

Read more in Biotech Dispatch.