The Victorian Government’s plan for innovation

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A few weeks ago, we discussed the budgeted initiatives contained in Labor’s Financial Statement, which provides much-needed direction on this new government’s priorities and programs. In addition to investment initiatives and direction, this statement also alludes to the government’s plans for innovation.

Importantly, the Victorian Government’s direction for technology focuses on how technology can enable key high-growth industry sectors to become more innovative and thus more competitive. These high-growth sectors are positioned to lead the overall economic competitiveness of the state. They include:

  • Medical technology (medtech)
  • International education
  • New energy
  • Professional services
  • Transport
  • Food and fibre

To achieve this sectoral growth, the technology industry requires significant investment in skills and job growth, as well as commercial and financial support to enable and foster innovation.

The current government’s plans for innovation address the following key areas:

  • The Premier’s Jobs and Investment Panel will use the unique insights of the private sector on how to invest $500 million to create high-skill, high-wage jobs.
  • The $200 million Future Industries Fund will offer grants to firms and companies specialising in the above six high-growth sectors, in which Victoria is poised to lead the world.
  • The establishment of Start-Up Victoria, a $60 million body to bring the state’s most promising and innovative ideas to life through business case development, investment attraction and intellectual property advice.
  • Labor’s Innovation Expert Panel, led by Victoria’s Chief Scientist and made up of researchers, industry figures, entrepreneurs and Victoria’s Chief Technology Advocate, will sit alongside the Premier’s Jobs and Investment Panel, and assess all initiatives to evaluate the viability of their commercialisation.
  • A review by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission will recommend new procurement guidelines for innovation, research and development, and include R&D investment as an evaluation criteria in procurement.

While many of these initiatives are still at the inception stage, work is progressing on each one. The majority are being sponsored through the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, supported by the Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade. I look forward to hearing more detail from the government on how these initiatives will be delivered an and the timing of them.

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