The Australian government is putting academic research ahead of critical industry insights by delivering its Innovation Statement prior to finalising its current survey of R&D Tax Incentive registrants, according to BDO research and development partner Nicola Purser.
BDO blasts govt innovation policy
Ms Purser said that while the Innovation Statement is expected for release on 9 December, the industry survey, which forms a part of the broader Re:think Tax White Paper process, was commenced just this month.
“It is disconcerting that the Australian Government is planning to announce its 'revamp' of the R&D Tax Incentive prior to finalising this survey and gathering the insights from business,” she said.
“With innovation such a critical component of Australia’s economic future, jumping the gun on innovation policy without incorporating commercial insights is incredibly inept.
“In terms of specific measures, I would urge the Australian Government to consider more carefully the critical factors of expediency and promptness in commercial R&D, factors often misunderstood by academia and the public sector,” Ms Purser said.
She added she cannot see how a move to grants and loans, which can be “cumbersome, untimely and inflexible”, could be seen as progressive.
“Likewise, in response to Australia’s Chief Scientist Ian Chubb’s recent comments suggesting the public sector takes a role in picking winners, I would counter that not only have governments proven notoriously bad at picking winners, this is counterproductive to the spirit of innovation and exposing new ideas to the open market to determine which are successful,” Ms Purser said.