The Atlassian Founders Say The Australian Government Doesn't Understand Tech

Atlassian co-CEOs Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes

The founders of software company Atlassian have criticised the Australian Government by saying it does not understand technology.

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar spoke with Channel Nine at the weekend and said Australia risks missing out on economic opportunities.

“The biggest problem with government is it doesn’t understand technology,” Cannon-Brookes told the Financial Review Sunday program.

“Technology is going to be the major driver of change over the next 25 years. It has been over the last 25.

“Now, if we’re not participating as a country in creating that technology, we’re going to be purely a consumer of overseas technology.

“We’re not going to have the wealth created here and I don’t think the government understands that in the way that they behave.”

Cannon-Brookes also said the NBN wasn’t enough to support technology businesses in Australia, during an interview in which the prospect of an impending IPO was played down.

“It’s good having a really good highway network, but if you’ve got no trucks and no vehicles, what’s the point of having a good highway network?” he said.

They also lamented the lack of experienced software engineers in Australia and employee share regulations which have burdened Australian start-ups and driven some overseas, and which were left unchanged by the recent budget.

“We’re turning over every rock we can find to find talented people in ­Australia,” Farquhar said. “In the last 12 months, we’ve had to import a lot of people.”

“It’s very difficult to give options to employees, to help them share in the upside,” he said, referring to the employee share plan regulations.

“Setting up a lot of those plans is really difficult in Australia. We were really disappointed the employee shareholder scheme changes didn’t get up [in the budget] . . . At the moment, you have to pay your tax ahead of any realisation of gains, so for us to give employees options, we have to pay tax ahead of that point in time.”

The pair have been at the top of Australia’s rich lists since they founded the enterprise technology business, which develops software to help programmers track their progress on projects.

There’s more here.

Now read: ATLASSIAN – THE UNTOLD STORY: How Two Australian Young Guns Built A Company Headed For A Billion-Dollar IPO

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