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Australia's Budget 2015: Call for incentives

Brian Karlovsky | May 12, 2015
Will there be programs introduced that invest in the creation and support of high-growth companies such as startups?

Verykios said the Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program, introduced in last year's budget, had produced little or no effect. "Government has to match the rest of the world, so that our entrepreneurs stay," he said. "IT is a global opportunity for an entrepreneur and any start up is going to look for best developers, best funders -- including government and best tax policies. We just have to be competitive, nothing fancy."

Business confidence
Data#3 managing director, John Grant, said he was seeing more business confidence in the first half of 2015.

"We had a good first half and we probably can see a good half in the second half," he said. "I don't think the government needs to do much more than to just maintain the current line and certainly, in the preliminary comments that the prime minister has been making about the budget, it's going to be a pretty attractive budget for people. I don't think there will necessarily be any business incentives in it, but there won't be business disincentives."

Grant said the government might be best placed setting policy drivers and then get out of the way. "If there are business opportunities then companies will find them given the right sort of incentive environment, providing funding is not necessarily an incentive," he said.

"Incentives are provided in many different ways and the biggest tool that government has is through its taxation regime and things like employee shareholding. The government is better off looking to its policy settings rather than providing funding and I say that from experience and also because the amount of money applied is just not significant."

StartupAUS has put forward an eight-point plan that, if implemented, could be the basis for development of a startup ecosystem in Australia that would contribute over $100 billion to GDP and create over half a million new jobs by 2033.

This includes creating a national innovation agency, improving the quality and quantity of entrepreneurship education, increasing the number of people with ICT skills, and increasing availability of early stage capital to startups, addressing legal and regulatory impediments.

Hosted Networks managing director, Ben Town, said, last year's budget brought "huge" cuts to investments in innovation and startups. "We're all prepared to see a fairly hard federal budget this year as well," he said. "So a good start would be would be to minimise any cuts that will negatively impact the IT sector.

"However, I'm expecting to see further pushes via policies such as Cloud first, where the government looks to increase productivity while decreasing costs. This will come at a cost for some in the industry, where the government looks to make savings and shift spending away from traditional ICT expenditure."


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