Michaelia Cash’s appointment as Minister for Jobs and Innovation is welcome recognition that the two aspects are “closely linked’, according to StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley. Noting there have been four Innovation Minister in less than two years, he said it was time for Australia to “get back on the front foot with innovation policy”.
[See also: Cabinet reshuffle: new Small Business Minister appointed, Jobs & innovation portfolio created and The Crossroads Report: poor access to global talent but it’s not all bad news for startups.]
“The pairing of jobs with innovation in Minister Cash’s new portfolio makes a lot of sense,” he said. “We know that young, innovative, high-growth companies account for almost all the new jobs in the economy, so these issues are inextricably linked. Recognition of that link in the new portfolio is an important step.
“Minister Cash has a strong track record in this area. She’s been actively engaged in the innovation agenda in previous portfolios and is a natural fit here. I expect she’ll approach the new role with energy, vision, and expertise. Those qualities are very welcome at a time when the national innovation conversation needs a kick-start.
McCauley said it was important that the Government had retained an Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation.
“It’s a role that really has strong potential to engage closely with the startup community,” he explained. “It’s encouraging to see someone like Zed Seselja, who has previous Ministerial experience, take on that role. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
McCauley said 2018 would be a ‘critical year’ for startups in terms of innovation.
“We already have a roadmap established, through the StartupAUS Crossroads Report, to Australia becoming one of the best places in the world to build a high-growth startup,” he said. “What we need now is rapid action in a number of key policy areas to capitalise on the momentum we have built. This is not only of paramount importance for the sector, it will help secure the economic future of the country.
“We need to get back on the front foot with innovation policy, and we’re looking forward to working closely with the new Ministers and their teams to amplify the positive impact of technology-led innovation on Australia’s economy.”