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Greens secure further support for small companies in R&D bill

The Greens will support the government's research and development reforms because they increase support for small and medium sized businesses engaging in R&D, particularly after the Greens secured amendments to help the cash-flow of these companies which are the engine room of innovation in Australia.

The agreement to make quarterly cash payments to small and medium-sized companies, instead of annual tax credits, was reached after a lengthy consultation by the Greens with a broad range of industry representatives.

"Innovation is critical to our economy, to our health, to our environment and it is vital that government support is as effective and efficient as possible," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

"Australians are famous for being early adopters - we love technology and innovation. We also believe in a fair go and know that the best ideas often come from the underdog.

"With these important structural reforms, much more support will be delivered to the small and medium-sized enterprises which are genuinely the engine-room of innovation in Australia.

"The amendment secured by the Greens will help even more, ensuring that those smaller companies will have access to the cash-flow they need to drive their ideas from innovation through to market.

"I don't believe most Australians would be happy to learn that, under current arrangements, some of the largest companies have been abusing the system by claiming business-as-usual operational costs as R&D.

"This has meant that, out of 8,000 companies registered for R&D tax credits, 100 of the largest companies take 60% of total funding - and 37 of those 100 are mining firms.

"It is important to say that this was a genuinely difficult reform process, with persuasive arguments on both sides from people thoroughly committed to improving our culture of innovation.

"As part of our lengthy consultations, we hosted a roundtable discussion involving industry representatives from across the board as well as government a departmental officers.

"This was a very successful process that I hope we can replicate in the future for similarly difficult discussions.

"In the end, the Greens have made a judgement that these reforms, with our further amendment, will deliver the best support to innovation we can achieve."


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