Australia needs to innovate if it is to maintain and improve living standards in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Both the resources boom, fuelled by the rise of Asia, and our economic strength are driving structural change in the Australian economy. The terms of trade, the appreciation of the Australian dollar, and high capital investment in the resources sector have all driven a growth in incomes, but have also created pressure on parts of the economy, especially manufacturing. Coinciding with this has been an apparent slowdown in measured productivity across most advanced economies.
With the terms of trade likely to ease over the coming years, we need to boost productivity to ensure that real income growth is maintained. Innovation is fundamentally linked to productivity and competitiveness. Evidence of the link between innovation, productivity and global competitiveness is strong.
Innovation helps create new business opportunities, growth and skilled jobs for the future. The Asian Century offers tremendous opportunities for innovative Australian businesses. The incredible growth in our region and the rise of more middle-class consumers in Asia will mean greater demand for what Australia has to offer – not only in the resources sector but also in areas like energy, water, agriculture, business and financial services, education, tourism, health and high technology manufacturing.
Improving productivity and competitiveness through innovation and skills development is essential. The Government is committed to tackling this challenge head-on.
Tracking the performance of our innovation system is essential in underpinning our efforts. The third annual report on Australia’s Innovation System discusses trends in innovation in Australia and where possible benchmarks Australia’s performance against other OECD countries. It seeks to offer robust, practical and relevant measures of innovation with a focus on skills and research capacity, business innovation, links and collaboration, and public sector innovation. This report is therefore a valuable resource for decision-makers in industry, government and the research community.
The Hon Greg Combet AM MP
Minister for Industry and Innovation
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficieny