Budget 2019: More vision required, says StartupAUS

By Jonathan Nally
Wednesday, 03 April, 2019

Budget 2019: More vision required, says StartupAUS

Despite the allocation of $60 million over three years for the Export Market Development Grant, last night’s federal government Budget is a “missed opportunity” to provide strategic vision on the role technology will play in the economy, said the CEO of StartupAUS, Alex McCauley.

“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,” McCauley said.

“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.”

McCauley acknowledged that some of the Budget measures would have an effect on the start-up sector.

“The increase to the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) is a valuable addition to the program,” he said.

“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.”

McCauley also welcomed the $3.4 million over four years dedicated to encouraging more women to choose STEM careers.

But he also said that the “lack of any attention” given to the R&D Tax Incentive (R&DTI) leaves 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 over-claiming of the scheme. One year later, the response to the review has been put on hold, yet start-ups continue to be hammered by audits while the status of software under the scheme is in limbo,” McCauley said.

“Uncertainty here is an existential risk for start-ups, it is critical to ensure that high-growth start-ups are unequivocally welcomed under the scheme as soon as possible. This is an urgent issue and was left unaddressed tonight.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/StockRocket

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