Federal budget sees the innovation statement reaffirmed but few new policies for startups

The federal government has revealed its 2016-17 budget with the aim of “harnessing the power of innovation and entrepreneurship”, mostly encompassing policies revealed in last year’s $1.1 billion innovation statement.

The policies include tax incentives for early-stage startup investment, an expansion of the CSIRO’s accelerator program, changes to the employee share scheme and reforms to the equity crowdfunding reforms.

The few pieces of new information focus mainly on fintech, with a $200,000 commitment to promote Australian fintechs on an international level and a reaffirmation of the pledge to create a “regulatory sandbox” to test new ideas from entrepreneurs.

The enterprise tax cuts are also likely to benefit startups as well as small and medium businesses.

In his budget speech, Treasurer Scott Morrison said innovation is at the core of the government’s strategy.

“Harnessing the power of innovation and entrepreneurship, to create our own ideas boom, lies at the heart of our plan to support jobs and growth in a stronger new economy,” Morrison said.

“As part of our national innovation and science agenda we are backing co-investment in new spin-offs and starts-ups created by Australia’s research institutions, through the CSIRO.

“We are also expanding the CSIRO’s accelerator programme to support public research bodies get up to speed and achieve commercial success.

“Reforms to employee share schemes and crowd-sourced equity funding will make it easier for start-ups to raise capital and our changes to company tax loss arrangements will make it easier for existing businesses to reinvent themselves.”

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