Australia's Venture Capitalists Aren't Really That Happy With The Government's Competitiveness Agenda

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The release of the federal government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda which included changes to significant investor visas and ESOP taxation rules will start to change the technology environment from next financial year.

The Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL) welcomed the agenda but said not enough was done to generate private sector investment in early stage businesses.

“The critical importance of innovation to our future economic prosperity cannot be overstated,” AVCAL Chief Executive, Yasser El-Ansary said.

“If we are going to arrest the decline in productivity here in Australia, and if we are going to more effectively compete with other countries around the world, we have to get on with putting in place a long-term innovation policy framework that is supported by all sides of politics.”

He said Tuesday’s changes were a good first step because they address some big pain points startups have been experiencing since 2009, including the tax treatment of employee share schemes.

“But there is a lot more work that still needs to be done in a number of areas related to innovation and the startup sector if we are to catch up to other developed countries and be able to compete globally in key growth industries over the long term,” El-Ansary said.

“Part of that will be in ensuring that innovative businesses have access to venture funding at all stages of growth, and that Australia improves its ability to translate and commercialise basic research into real products and outcomes. We will be continuing to advocate for more policy changes to encourage greater private sector investment into this critically important part of the economy.”

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