In December 2015, the Australian Government launched the National Innovation and Science Agenda report. According to this report:
The National Innovation and Science Agenda will focus on four key pillars:
- Culture and capital
- Talent and skills
- Government as an exemplar
Before Cats fall over laughing at the notion and suggestion of “Government as an exemplar”, this agenda was the basis for the Government’s innovation policy. And to demonstrate commitment, this policy came with $1.1 billion over four years. And by commitment, it commited $1.1 billion of other peoples money over four years.
According to this jobs’n’growth agenda, there is a role for Government:
Government supports innovation by investing in enablers such as education, science and research, and infrastructure; incentivising business investment; and removing regulatory obstacles such as restrictions around employee share ownership or access to crowd-sourced equity funding.
The Government is investing around $9.7 billion in research and development in 2015-16. Around $3.2 billion directly supports business sector R&D and much of the rest funds research in universities and research agencies such as CSIRO.
Government also enables innovation by investing in traditional infrastructure such as research laboratories, roads and rail and digital infrastructure such as the nbn, which currently passes 1.5 million premises, with construction to begin in areas covering almost 7.5 million premises over the next three years.
The National Innovation and Science Agenda will drive smart ideas that create business growth, local jobs and global success.
It’s like an episode of Yes Minister or Utopia.
NBN as an enabler of innovation. Right. Why not add the spend on the ABC to the bucket for innovation investments. Its communication, education and content infrastructure. Hey. What about the $126 million Parliament House fence because it will create the conditions for Government Innovation Policy Ideation to Fertilize the Entrepreneurial Mindset.
And to suggest that some $5 billion odd spent on University Research is all investment. Ha. Not a lot of commercialization opportunities generally come from the University of Sydney Gender Studies faculty.
But anyway. Jobs’n’Growth. Jobs’n’Growth.
In 2010, 3 researchers from College London published a paper on entrepreneurship and government. The conclusions? Would it surprise that they found “entrepreneurial entry is inversely related to the size of the government”. No! It cannot be. Government size adversely impacts entrepreneurship? What about all the Commonwealth innovation, entrepreneurship and business promotion bureaucrats and programs?
So wrote Aidis, Estrin and Mickiewicz:
we find a robust negative relationship between the size of the government and entrepreneurial entry. Consistent with earlier findings (Parker, 2004; Henrekson, 2005; Koellinger and Minniti, 2009), we argue that an extensive welfare state supported by high level of taxation reduce the incentives for nascent entrepreneurs. This in turn, has wider implications for economic development.
An extensive welfare state supported by high level of taxation reduce the incentives for nascent entrepreneurs. Gee. Who would have thunk it.
The media keep talk about dog whistle messaging. The job’n’growth message must have really been meant for residents of Canberra. Extra jobs and lotsa departmental budget growth for them.
Australia’s policy wonks have latched onto the expression evidenced based policy. It is thrown around to give the halo of some sort of science or rigor going into policy development. But it seems that evidence is never used to review policy outcomes; because the evidence is that much of the policy emanating from our governments are destructive.
See renewable energy, nbn, submarines. But jobs’n’growth.
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