Helping great ideas thrive

Articles and op-ed

Published in The Australian

16 January 2014

The right climate fosters innovation

FOR many people, innovation is something intangible, yet it is within the power of everyone to innovate. The role of government is to create an environment that fosters an endless search for improvement in whatever we do. Such governments seek to keep taxes at a level that leaves plenty of blue sky for people to strive for.

This fosters risk-taking, hard work, productive change and innovation.

Only prudent governments that live within their means can keep taxes at a level that facilitates competitive trade, attractive investment and sustained innovation.

Such governments seek to minimise the web of regulations that can strangle a spirit of enterprise with costly and timeconsuming compliance burdens.

It means encouraging flexibility and choice in the workplace and in so many areas of our lives, because one size doesn't fit all.

For individuals, it involves endlessly honing and applying their innate talents; for organisations and companies, it involves backing strengths and adapting those strengths, to innovate. It is no different for a country. The most innovative and resilient economies are countries that focus on their strengths and don't waste precious resources, skills and focus propping up industries that other countries are better placed to do well. These principles are fundamental to seeing private sector-led growth, driven by trade, investment and higher productivity.

Australia is a knowledgebased economy; a smart, technologically savvy economy with world-leading research capacity and innovative problem-solvers.

But the true strength of Australia is the potent combination of the old and the new sectors, growing and developing together. It is in our great, traditional primary industries agriculture, mining, energy that we often see examples of technological innovation.

The US is one of our key partners. Two-way trade between our nations is at an alltime high, having increased by more than 38 per cent since our historic free trade agreement in 2005. We already have numerous examples ofUS-Australian technological collaboration where we are already doing very well, such as medical research.

Australia has produced a long list of important commercial breakthroughs including in resource and water management, and environmental technologies.

Australia offers a strong economy, quality infrastructure, and strong and energetic political will. The 2014 Australia Benchmark Report showcases Australia's strong competitive position in the five key areas growth, innovation, talent, location and business. I see further substantial scope for partnerships and collaboration, investment partnerships, knowledge partnerships, business and ideas across the region as we enter the final stage of negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership.

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