Despite a welcome injection of $60 million over 3 years to the Export Market Development Grant, StartupAUS described today’s Budget as a ‘missed opportunity’ to provide strategic vision on the role technology will play in Australia’s economy.
StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley said, ‘Tonight the Treasurer launched his Budget with a message of strong economic management, but gave no indication of his government’s approach to the transformational role of technology in Australia’s economic future. The Treasurer chose to focus on the status quo rather than outline his government’s strategic plan for transitioning the Australian economy into an increasingly technology-led world.’
Mr McCauley noted that within the raft of measures announced in the 2019-20 Budget, there were some that would have an impact on the startup sector.
‘The increase to the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) is a valuable addition to the program. In our latest Crossroads report, StartupAUS called for an increase and improvement to the scheme, and we’re glad to see a significant level of additional support allocated towards helping businesses export Australian-developed goods and digital products overseas. Given that Labor has also talked about boosting the EMDG, it’s great to see bipartisan support of a valuable program. Also, we’re pleased to see $3.4 million over four years dedicated to encouraging more women in STEM careers as a long-term measure of support.’
Mr McCauley also highlighted that the lack of any attention provided to the Research and Development Tax Incentive (R&DTI) continues to leave technology businesses without stability.
‘In the 2018-19 Budget, the government responded to the 2016 FFF R&D Tax Incentive review and announced a crackdown on overclaiming of the scheme. One year later, the response to the review has been put on hold, yet startups continue to be hammered by audits while the status of software under the scheme is in limbo. Uncertainty here is an existential risk for startups, it is critical to ensure that high-growth startups are unequivocally welcomed under the scheme as soon as possible. This is an urgent issue and was left unaddressed tonight.’
About StartupAUS: StartupAUS is Australia’s national startup advocacy group, working to support the tech community and accelerate the growth of Australian startups. That means making Australia one of the best places in the world to build and grow a tech startup. StartupAUS focuses on trying to get the big picture right for Australian startups – improving the regulatory environment, building a case for the right sort of Government support for a fast-growing sector, and increasing public awareness of the impact of tech startups across the country.