Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Economics References Committee; Reference
I, and also on behalf of Senators Milne and Madigan—and I might amend that to include Senator Xenophon—move:
That the following matter be referred to the Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day of July 2015:
The challenges to Australian industries and jobs posed by increasing global competition in innovation, science, engineering, research and education, with particular reference to:
(a) the need to attract new investment in innovation to secure high skill, high wage jobs and industries in Australia, as well as the role of public policy in nurturing a culture of innovation and a healthy innovation ecosystem;
(b) the Australian Government's approach to innovation, especially with respect to the funding of education and research, the allocation of investment in industries, and the maintenance of capabilities across the economy;
(c) the importance of translating research output into social and economic benefits for Australians, and mechanisms by which it can be promoted;
(d) the relationship between advanced manufacturing and a dynamic innovation culture;
(e) current policies, funding and procedures of Australia's publicly funded research agencies, universities, and other actors in the innovation system;
(f) potential governance and funding models for Australia's research infrastructure and agencies, and policy options to diversify science and research financing;
(g) the effectiveness of mechanisms within Australian universities and industry for developing research pathways, particularly in regards to early and mid career researchers;
(h) policy actions to attract, train and retain a healthy research and innovation workforce;
(i) policy actions to ensure strategic international engagement in science, research and innovation; and
(j) policy options to create a seamless innovation pipeline, including support for emerging industries, with a view to identifying key areas of future competitive advantage.
The government contends that this inquiry is simply a stunt. On this side of the chamber we know that industry is the driver of Australian business and the Australian economy, with manufacturing a fundamental building block of our five-pillar economy. We know that the role of the government is to provide a sound framework for manufacturers and businesses to grow and create new opportunities. We are tackling these challenges in Victoria and South Australia, in particular, via a thorough and transparent economic review process. The independent panel members have taken detailed submissions from a wide range of sectors, including advanced manufacturing, engineering, electrical, defence and biotechnology. The Australian government is considering all the information gathered from the panel reports and is developing the strongest policy framework in order to reignite opportunities for industry.
Question agreed to.