Two years ago, Australia signed up to the promise of the innovation agenda.
In a fast-paced world, we resolved to thrive on change – to turn challenge into opportunity, and risk into reward. We would invest in the assets that fuel new ideas: our research system, our enterprising firms, our broad and deep industrial base, and our high-skilled workforce. Together, they would harness the phenomenal potential of the Australian people.
The Labor Government sealed that pledge in Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century. We backed it with a massive boost to the innovation budget, breaking new records with every passing year. It now stands some forty-three per cent above the spending levels we inherited in 2007.
This was not a plan for the imperatives of the moment – it is an enduring investment in change. Its full impact will not be felt for decades, and it will never be easy to quantify. An innovation system is about people: the knowledge, technology, infrastructure and cultures they have created or adopted, who they work with, and how they understand the world. There is no simple scorecard for human potential.
It is nevertheless vital to maintain the most robust, practical and relevant measures possible. Our goals are ambitious, and our investments are substantial. We must be confident we remain on the path to success.
This second annual Innovation Report is a valuable resource for decision-makers in government, industry and the research community. It is a snapshot of our nation in the worst global economic downturn in living memory. Australia could not escape unscathed; and yet we have every reason to reflect with pride on our performance. Our resilience is a true testament to the power of innovation.
As we work to harness this wealth of detail, I trust we will not forget our ultimate goal. We are building the foundation for a new Australia – a nation which prospers on the strength of its ideas.
Senator Kim Carr
Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research