Policy Proposals

Policy Proposal – TOLA

4 December, 2019

The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 compels companies to provide information and assistance to law enforcement and security agencies. The Act’s unprecedented powers, broad scope and limited oversight provisions have generated concern among local technology firms over their obligations and made it harder for Australian companies to operate internationally.

We identify four key amendments that would help overcome the major industry concerns with the legislation.

Policy Proposal – Payroll tax

4 December, 2019

A proposal to create a time-limited payroll tax exemption for fast growing tech startups to incentivise them to rapidly create more jobs in Australia.

Policy Proposal – R&D Tax Incentive

4 December, 2019

The R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI) is the single largest program supporting startups in Australia, but shifts in the way the RDTI operates have increasingly made it unreliable for software companies. This is undermining a bedrock platform of government support for the sector. A growing number of companies are facing serious financial challenges as a result, breeding uncertainty about the future of the program for startups.

Policy Proposal – Innovation Ambassador

6 December, 2018

Global tech firms generally have significant commercial footprints in Australia, but few do any research and development (R&D) here.  Instead, their Australian offices tend to focus on sales and marketing. This compounds the existing problem that Australia already spends less on R&D than peer OECD countries (around 1.87% of GDP—and falling—in comparison with an average of 2.3%).  

To compete for global R&D, Australia needs strong fundamentals (including skilled local talent, accessible visas, world-class research institutions, high quality business infrastructure, and clear strengths in particular areas with a proven track record of high quality work).  But given the internationally competitive market for flagship R&D programs, Australia also needs to tell a cohesive narrative about why it should be on the radar for tech executives looking to set up new R&D labs.

Policy Proposal – Entrepreneur visa

6 December, 2018

Skilled workers are more mobile than at any time in the past.  As the international community awakens to the economic benefits startups bring with them, promising entrepreneurs have increasing flexibility (and incentives) in where they choose to start and grow their businesses.  To attract and reap the benefits of the most dynamic founders and startups, Australia needs an internationally competitive entrepreneur visa that is simple, well advertised, easy to qualify for, easy to apply for, and quick to process.  The existing Entrepreneur Stream of the Business Innovation and Investment 188 visa is none of those things.

Policy Proposal – Data collection

6 December, 2018

While data collection efforts have proliferated over the last few years, high-quality comprehensive data on Australia’s startups remains elusive.  Data collected by government agencies as part of grant programs and other support mechanisms remains largely inaccessible, further limiting the connectivity of data sources. Without a clear definition of a startup, outdated standards and classifications often make official datasets unreliable when seeking to draw insights about the startup sector.

Policy Proposal – ESIC

6 December, 2018

A proposal to broaden the Early Stage Innovation Company (ESIC) qualification criteria to provide streamlined access to genuine startups.

Policy Proposal – ESOP

1 December, 2018

A proposal to allow startups and scale-ups to more easily provide equity to all of their employees.

Policy Proposal – EMDG

1 December, 2018

Startups are natural exporters, with a ‘born global’ mentality driving them to find and address the biggest global markets for their products. In general, Australian exporters have traditionally enjoyed strong support from governments. One of the central pillars of that support from the federal government is the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG). While many startups looking to expand overseas also benefit from the EMDG, it has limitations which make it less well-adapted to startups than to traditional exporters.