Innovation Agenda opens up spatial industry

By on 15 December, 2015


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has firmly hit the reset button on Australia’s national agenda for innovation and science, pledging $1.1 billon as part of the biggest shake up of industry and government technology policies to date. The new approach is set to open up commercialisation of innovative technologies and a new take on open government data has already seen changes taking place. In response, representatives of the spatial industry hailing the government for the new agenda for the benefits it will bring for the highly innovative and technologically-dependent industry.

Released last week, the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) charts a clear course for Australia’s public and private sectors and aims to launch new technological and industrial research that will add to the forefront of the economy. While employment growth opportunities in the minerals and traditional manufacturing sectors dwindle, the agenda aims to redirect investment into Australia’s slow-growing, yet limitless knowledge economy.

The Australian Federal Government will spend almost $1.1 billion in the next four years to promote business-based research, development and innovation: “That is the next boom for Australia. Unlike a mining boom… it is limited only by our imagination,” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the announcement of the Australian Government’s Innovation package.

The government is now pushing a four-pillared strategy that involves ‘Culture and capital’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Talent and skills’ and ‘Government as an exemplar’. At its core, the NISA seeks to generate private sector early stage investment by lowering taxes, relaxing regulation and removing other impediments like pitfalls in insolvency laws.

By indoctrinating the Agenda, the Australian Government has also made a profound commitment to the release of foundation spatial data-sets for public use.

An announcement from the Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA) highlighted that the Spatial Industry promises significant opportunity for Australia’s economic prosperity: “The three most disruptive technologies currently stand as Nano-Tech, Bio-Tech, and Spatio-Tech,” the statement read. “Of the big three disruptors, Spatio-Tech, as demonstrated by the likes of Uber, has a propensity to drive deep fundamental societal changes.”

As an early example of the advancements that might be expected, last week’s announcement that PSMA’s Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF) will be published under an open data licence proves the government’s commitment to bolster Australian innovation. G-NAF will be made publicly available at no cost to end users on in February 2016.

The Chair of SIBA, Glen Cockerton, said such initiatives show the Government is now acknowledging the significant value the Spatial Industry adds to Australia’s growing knowledge economy.

“SIBA is delighted with the rapid pace of change we are now witnessing for Governmentinitiatives supporting the release of open spatial datasets,” Cockerton said. “The unprecedented recent uptake of mobile devices, the open and innovative National Map, and the myriad of new spatial services appearing via real time sensors, cloud infrastructures and location enabled business systems integration means that the Government seems set to become more agile in its provisioning of services and more effective in its support of private sector innovation.”

Emeritus Professor Jim Piper, President of Science and Technology Australia (STA) said “Measures to secure the future of research infrastructure, increase collaboration between industry and universities, boost CSIRO and start-up ventures and investors, are among 24 initiatives spanning a wide range of government departments.”

“The Government is to be warmly congratulated on a forward-looking agenda that delivers on our calls for a long-term, sustainable plan for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, placing it at the heart of a modern prosperous nation,” he said.

The Agenda highlights over $1B across 25 initiatives that include:

  • a new Entrepreneur Visa,
  • $250M support for turning health and medical research into a commercial reality,
  • $200M to CSIRO innovation for spin-off and start-up companies, products and services,
  • $36M Global Innovation Strategy to collaborate globally in research and establish landing pads in Tele Aviv and Silicon Valley,
  • $13M to increase opportunities for women in research, start-ups and entrepreneurial firms,
  • $520M for the Australian Synchrotron and a new Cyber Security Growth Centre.

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