Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) has challenged Australians, and their governments, to be bolder in using innovation to unlock economic and social opportunity for the future.
The call came as ISA Chair, Mr Bill Ferris AC, launched Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation (the 2030 Plan) with the Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, at Astor Industries in Western Sydney earlier today.
Australia should use ambitious ‘National Missions’ to strengthen Australia’s innovation culture and demonstrate that Australia’s world-class innovation, science and research system can be used to solve some of the biggest global challenges of the coming decades, according to one of the 2030 Plan’s recommendations to Government.
‘ISA recommends that Australia seek to become the healthiest nation on earth through the integration of genomics and precision medicine capabilities into the Australian health system; such a National Mission would eventually be of extraordinary benefit to all Australians,’ Mr Ferris said.
‘The 2030 Plan also calls for a feasibility study into using a National Mission to address coral bleaching challenges faced by the Great Barrier Reef, and we welcome the Government’s recent funding announcement for this phase of the project.
The mission would pursue innovative adaptation and reef restoration technologies in order to optimise the chances for survival of the reef beyond 2030,’ Mr Ferris said.
Mr Ferris said the 2030 Plan is focused on continuing national prosperity driven by innovation, and is founded on the urgent need for an acceleration in the development and commercialisation of Australian ideas and inventiveness.
Recommendations include measures to stimulate higher levels of Research and Development expenditure by the business sector, which the 2030 Plan says lags behind that seen in the business sector of competitor nations.
‘For industry, our vision is by 2030 Australia will have many more examples of high-growth firms exporting innovative goods and services to markets around the world,’ Mr Ferris said.
‘To do this Australian business’ investment in research and development needs to increase, which for policy-makers means ensuring that government support programs are delivering the best bang for their buck.
In order for Australian businesses to seriously compete with the best international firms they need access to the best and brightest talent – from both domestic and global talent pools,’ Mr Ferris said.
‘This makes a world-class education system, and a confident, outward-looking immigration policy a must for our innovation system.’
The 2030 Plan makes 30 recommendations to the Australian Government, actionable within five core policy imperatives for: education, industry, Government, research and development, and culture and ambition.
ISA Deputy Chair and Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, emphasised the importance of education and research in the 2030 Plan.
‘We need a relentless focus on raising the bar across the entire education system, combined with investment in our national research assets, to profit from the global knowledge economy,’ Dr Finkel said.
Mr Ferris hoped the 2030 Plan would encourage robust national discussion on the importance of innovation to Australia’s future, and result in a strong and positive response from governments and the wider community at all levels.
‘Looking towards 2030, innovation will be integral to the expansion and international competitiveness of Australia’s economy. Given Australia’s ageing population, the real challenge is unlikely to be a shortage of jobs, but rather a shortage of workers appropriately skilled to fill those jobs.’
‘The ISA Board believes Australia can expect to become a leading innovation nation by 2030, thereby securing sustainable prosperity if all five imperatives and related 30 recommendations are actively addressed,’ Mr Ferris said.
Tim Powell, Office of Innovation and Science Australia
Phone 0428 558 384