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Securing our economic future – $20m commitment to drive WA’s innovation future

SMPerth // 14th May 2016
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MEDIA STATEMENT: Our State Budget 2016-17
Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett has announced a boost to the State’s fast-growing innovation sector in the 2016-17 State Budget with a $20 million package designed to make Western Australia a regional and global innovation centre and create new jobs.

Mr Barnett said this package would consolidate and build on a number of initiatives in innovation already occurring across Government – particularly in Commerce, Finance and Science – all aimed at broadening the Western Australian economy.

“Last year we appointed the first Government Chief Information officer, three years ago I launched the largest supercomputer in the southern hemisphere at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Kensington and now we have the appointment of an Innovation Minister,” he said.

“This extra $20 million will expand WA’s already dynamic tech sector and position it to capitalise on our State’s strong entrepreneurial credentials in Australia, Asia and around the world.”

The Premier said State Development and Finance Minister Bill Marmion would drive the wide-ranging initiative as the new Minister for Innovation, supported by Parliamentary Secretary Matt Taylor.

“The package aims to ensure WA’s brand becomes synonymous with innovation, creativity and digital technology.  It will broaden the economy, create jobs and stimulate investment,” he said.

“We will look to Asia, with an early focus on Singapore, using our trade, business and education linkages to help open a regional gateway for investment in WA.

“As I have said many times, this is the decade that matters in terms of broadening our economy.  More and more of our jobs and export growth is coming from innovation in resources, science, agriculture, tourism, education and health services.

“From mining to farming, WA has led the way in so many fields – now we need to transition that leadership into the digital age and across the global stage.”

Mr Marmion said convening an innovation summit and opening a web portal would be his early priorities.

“The summit will bring together leaders from WA’s business, startup, community and public sectors to build our innovation strategy to foster new enterprises, concept commercialisation and job creation,” Mr Marmion said.

“The portal will be a one-stop shop to connect innovators, incubators, mentors and investors.

“Digital innovation success can be a game changer in the modern economy, and I want to ensure the best and brightest minds have every chance to see their ideas through to commercial implementation for the benefit of all West Australians.”

Treasurer Mike Nahan said the innovation package would help WA secure Australian Government innovation investment and ensure the State received its fair share of funding.

Mr Marmion will shortly open entries for the Start IT Up Challenge, offering $100,000 in prize money.

“This will be a challenge for innovators to use Government data to improve the way the public sector delivers services to West Australians,’ he said.

“It builds on the Open Data Policy launched last year, which makes large amounts of Government data available for public use and technology development.”

The Premier said the innovation package would drive economic growth, increase digital technology exports, improve productivity and help deliver more responsive Government services.

“I look forward to seeing the proposals put forward by Minister Marmion and, more importantly, the outcomes achieved as a result of this Government’s innovation investment in WA,” he said.

Fact File

  • The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet will be responsible for developing and administering the innovation package
  • Innovation events will include Techtober, a month that showcases digital technology and features masterclasses with national and international experts
  • The WA Innovator of the Year awards will be revamped to focus on entrepreneurial support for award winners
  • The 2015 WA Startup Report found more than 400 tech startups had been founded since 2010, with an investment of more than $100m and employing nearly 3,000 people
  • WA Budget statements are available at http://ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au

Source: Government of Western Australia Media Statements

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