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Secretary's foreword

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Working towards 2023

Industry, innovation and science drive economic growth and job creation in Australia, which in turn support Australians’ standards of living. Because of these responsibilities, the department has a central role in promoting a globally integrated, digital and technology-driven economy.

Australia has experienced 28 years of economic growth; however, we cannot afford to be complacent. Our operating environment is changing rapidly. Global economic trends will continue to impact Australia, and we need to grow businesses that can navigate the changes in the global economy and use technology to drive Australia’s productivity and competitiveness.

We work to implement the Government’s economic agenda by enabling the growth of globally competitive businesses to support job creation and a strong economy and provide a foundation for our security. We also play an important role in delivering trusted and efficient services to businesses. Our efforts depend on connecting agendas across government and maintaining strong relationships with businesses, employees, the science community, regulators and international partners. This is complemented by taking citizen-centred approaches to developing, implementing and communicating policy.

The department’s focus is on helping Australian businesses to navigate market disruptions and seek new opportunities, including those presented by digital transformation. Advances in core and emerging industries—from space to biotechnology—have the potential to create new jobs, raise incomes and deliver a better quality of life for all Australians. This year, we will continue to support the competitiveness of these industries, with the implementation of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund a key focus. We are also looking to improve the way we engage with, and encourage the development of, innovative and potentially disruptive technologies, particularly through approaches to artificial intelligence.

We promote the global competitiveness of our resources sector, which remains one of the foundations of our national wealth. We will implement the National Resources Statement as the blueprint for growth in our resources sector, as well as working to build the skills and data we need to unlock new opportunities. We are also helping to develop the National Hydrogen Strategy to examine how Australia can fast track the development of this industry and open up export markets in the Indo-Pacific region. At the same time, we are leading the Government’s efforts to unlock the untapped potential of northern Australia and build on its strong primary and tourism industries, along with its connections to our regional neighbours.

The department is also focused on building a more competitive business environment, including through reforms to reduce the cost of doing business, particularly by providing simple, easy-to-access services and information and helping business seamlessly engage with government. With rapid technological advances, we also need to ensure our regulatory systems are fit for purpose and promote digital innovation while safeguarding the Australian community.

We also invest in and support scientific research, infrastructure, skills development, collaboration and engagement that underpins new discoveries. Our portfolio is supporting research agencies to ensure they are well positioned to undertake high-quality research for Australia. We are continuing to facilitate strong innovation and science connections internationally. Through the Global Innovation Strategy, we are helping Australia grow institutional connections that support frontier science responding to global challenges related to technology disruption, health, food and energy supply and the environment.

This year, the Australian Government will release the recommendations arising from the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service (APS) and the Government’s response to the Review. We are strongly dedicated to building a fit-for-purpose APS that meets the needs of governments and Australians into the future.

As a portfolio, we are committed to working directly with business and the community to resolve real-world problems and to seize opportunities together. We will partner with more sectors and use more citizen-centred and co-designed policy to develop, implement and communicate policies and programs that create an environment that supports growth and technological advancement across all regions.

A key aspect of this work will be to continue to deliver valuable services to business and the community through AusIndustry, our shared services networks, policy and regulatory efforts. We will work closely with partners across government to ensure Australians and Australian business are able to access the seamless, effective services they need quickly and easily. That is why the department is working to build evaluation into every aspect of our work and to use data innovatively to drive more effective outcomes. Making greater use of data will ensure governments can be confident they have the right policy design and programs supporting the right people at the right time.

I am committed to continuing to support a safe, inclusive and diverse organisation. The department embraces the diverse backgrounds, life and work experiences of our staff to enhance the richness of our workplace. Through our programs, policies and services we also provide mutually beneficial opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, organisations and communities across Australia to share in economic development and social inclusion.

By continuing to invest in building the right capabilities, cultures and connections around the key areas of industry, innovation, science and technology we can create jobs for the future and promote a dynamic and successful Australian economy. I look forward to collaborating across government, business and the community to continue delivering positive outcomes for all Australians.

Dr Heather Smith PSM
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science