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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?

Town said he would like to see additional investment in government programs that improved efficiencies, while cutting government costs, as well as programs that looked to build upon innovative technologies through advice and R&D grants.

"The start-up world is very competitive and they can struggle to gain access to skilled talent, who are always in demand, especially when going up against higher paying employers. As such, I see the changes to the scheme being highly beneficial in gaining skilled talent and growing a business beyond the start up phase."

Employee share schemes
On a positive note, the treatment of employee share schemes will be improved as of July 15. A bizarre situation has existed in Australia since 2009 in which options are taxed in the hands of employees at the time of issue, rather than at the time they received the proceeds. The government has recognised that this is out of step with the rest of the world.

Town said, "I see the changes to the scheme being highly beneficial in gaining skilled talent and growing a business beyond the start-up phase."

Katana1 managing director, Nick Russel, said his company always had a direct investment approach to staff equity and that it was now exploring formalised staff share scheme.

"K1 relies on a healthy economy, where our customers have the confidence to invest in IT projects," he said. "At present, clients are facing redundancies and downsizing and there are lots of delays in IT spending and IT projects. We are looking for the budget to restore some confidence in corporate Australia. We would also like to see continuing to support for R&D tax incentives to encourage the channel to make the investment in developing its own innovative solutions to customers IT challenges."

Telsyte analyst, Rodney Gedda, said governments, companies and industry bodies needed to "pull together" to provide better collaboration, research and education for the industry. "We have heard about cuts to NICTA, so that's not positive," he said. "The IT industry will be looking for more infrastructure that supports growth and development -- anything to do with tax breaks and support for emerging technology is a bonus.

"We are not doing enough in terms of making IT a career choice. If we did more to foster how the government can help with making it easier to employ people, sponsoring internships and sponsoring university placements that would also help."

Mocana Corporation founder and author, Adrian Turner, said digital disruption had put industries that accounted for almost a third of Australia's GDP in the line of fire.

"Without action, these shifts have potential to stall Australian economic growth, render whole industries uncompetitive and lead to climbing long term unemployment across the nation," he said. "It sounds alarmist, but it's not. It is reality. The choices we make right now will affect our generation and the ones to come. They will define our prosperity and place in the world."


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