The Prime Minister has declared it is time for government to “step back” and unwind restrictions so Australians can move forward, as he laid out his plan for a business-led recovery out of Covid.
In a speech to the Business Council of Australia on Wednesday afternoon, Scott Morrison also announced the government would invest $243.5m to support ‘trailblazer’ universities that are early adopters of intellectual property, industrial relations and skills practices.
“The focus is on universities working with industry partners to drive commercialisation across our six national manufacturing priorities,” he said.
Camera IconScott Morrison announced a $243.5m investment in ‘trailblazer’ universities in his speech. Credit: Supplied
“This investment will allow four select universities – including at least one in regional Australia – to position themselves as research and development leaders and demonstrate to the entire sector the benefits of a strong focus on commercialisation and industry engagement.”
Mr Morrison said the last 18 months had been a time for government “to step forward” to save lives and livelihoods amid the “greatest health and economic shock in our lifetime”.
But, in a strong message to state premiers, he said this period was now over.
“But there is also a time for government to step back, so Australians can move forward,” he said.
“To unwind restrictions, to unleash the entrepreneurship of private enterprise, to enable you to invest, grow and shape your business for the future.
“That time is now upon us. It’s time to move ahead, it’s time – step-by-step, conditioned necessarily by the need to open safely and stay safely open.”
He said their recovery plan would focus on four “new economic beachheads” across digital, energy, manufacturing and research ingenuity developments.
“Areas where we need to step forward confidently to claim our place in a rapidly changing, highly competitive global economy,” he said.
Mr Morrison said Australia needed to secure its place in the data and digital economy.
“Covid-19 has accelerated the pace of business digitalisation,” he said.
“We’ve seen almost nine in 10 Australian firms adopt new technologies.
Camera IconThe Prime Minister spoke about his support for a business-led recovery. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia
“We’ve seen the tech sector grow at four times the rate of the rest of the economy.
“As I’ve said many times, every business in Australia is now a digital business.
“There’s no going back, given changing expectations about how we live, work, communicate and shop.”
The Prime Minister said Australia’s energy economy was also a crucial element of the recovery and the drive for net zero emissions would “reshape the global economy”.
“We are making the investments needed to drive our technology, not taxes, approach,” he said.
“Over the next decade, Commonwealth investment of more than $21 billion is expected to unlock more than $80b of private and public sector investment, including in clean hydrogen, ultra low-cost solar, carbon capture and storage, and energy storage.”
But he said they were not walking away from “established strengths” and noted the government welcomed that the massive Scarborough gas project, located off Western Australia’s coast, had been approved this week.
Camera IconScott Morrison said that Australia needed to transform and develop across digital, manufacturing, energy and research ingenuity. Credit: Supplied
Mr Morrison said Australia also needed to transform its manufacturing sector, taking up opportunities to lead the way with medical products, recycling, critical minerals and defence and space.
“Instead of spreading taxpayer dollars thinly across the economy, we are focusing investments in sectors where we can build scale and have a real impact,” he said.
He said the last area was research commercialisation – “how we turn great Australian ideas into commercial success”.
Mr Morrison also said the established pillars of jobs and growth were a major focus.Internet Explorer Channel Network