Question time - Innovation

  • Transcript, E&OE

Mr HASTIE (Canning) (14:10): Myquestion is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update theHouse on the outcomes of her recent visit to the United States and theimportance of global cooperation in innovation to create jobs and grow theeconomy?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:10): I thank the member for Canning for his question. I take thisopportunity to congratulate him on his election to this place and thecontribution that he has already made to the House.

Innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurship are keydrivers of productivity, economic growth and job creation. It is vital that weencourage and support innovation within our nation. Indeed, the Prime Ministerhas already announced that innovation is a key priority for this government.And while my recent visit to the United States was centred on the annualAustralia-US foreign and defence ministerial dialogue, AUSMIN, I also had theopportunity to meet leading entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, designers,film and production professionals, and technology, social media and softwareexperts. A good number of them were young Australians. Indeed, our youngAustralians are seizing opportunities to seek out new ideas and taking risks topursue their goals, whether those are in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, SiliconValley or the Bay area in San Francisco.

Australians have founded and, in some cases, are leading newtechnology companies, like Nitro or CloudPeeps, Kaggle and venture capitalcompanies like Sequoia. These companies are revolutionising the way we live andthe way we work–for example, in areas like document management and intransforming the nature of freelance work. Indeed, they are looking to theAustralian government to create the environment that would enable them to bringthese opportunities back here to Australia. They are employing literallyhundreds of people as their businesses grow, and they include many Australians.They are at the cutting edge of innovation.

During my meetings I sought their views on what more thisgovernment could do to embrace and support an innovation agenda within thiscountry, and to make ours a more creative economy that supports our innovativeand creative thinkers. The suggestions ranged from changes to the educationsector, more flexibility in workplace relations and easier access to venturecapital to a culture of risk taking. Most importantly, was the embracing by thepublic and private sectors of the need to innovate and to pursue opportunitiesto change the way we do things.

This should apply across government, and I have establishedwithin the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade an innovation hub called theinnovationXchange. This is revolutionising the way we manage our aid budget andhas solved the more difficult and enduring aid development problems in ourregion. This is bringing together the brightest and most creative minds notonly from the private sector but from the public sector, and we havesecondments from the World Bank and USAID. Through the innovationXchange we aretransforming the way that we increase economic growth and reduce poverty in ourregion.

This government is determined to ensure that innovation will bethe driver of new jobs and economic growth. (Timeexpired)

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