In his budget reply speech to the National Press Club on Wednesday, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen dedicated significant time to outlining a Labor Party agenda that aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
Calling on Australia to find its own niche and not be a carbon copy of Silicon Valley, he said that high growth companies currently generate less than 0.2% of Australia’s GDP but that it could account for 4% of our GDP, according to PwC, generating more than half a million jobs by as early as 2033.
He said the tax system is one of the most powerful levers a government has to influence investor behaviour.
“Other governments around the world, including conservative governments get the importance of a supportive government environment for the high-tech, startup sector, making it more frustrating that our government does not,” Bowen said.
He called for changes to current crowdsourced funding laws and flagged a visa specifically for entrepreneurs as Labor-backed policies that could encourage Australian innovation and startups.
He said that he and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had instructed the opposition treasury parliamentary secretary, Ed Husic, who has a passionate interest in the potential of high technology, to consult with the sector to provide a regulatory framework for crowdsourced funding “in the absence of action from the government”.
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