A RANGE of industry assistance programmes and commercialisation grants will cease to exist, under the 2014 Federal Budget.
Commercialisation Australia, the Innovation Investment Fund, Australian Industry Participation, Enterprise Solutions, Industry Innovations Councils, Enterprise Connect and Industry Innovation Precincts have all been abolished.
Instead, there will be a single business service with the Entrepreneur' Infrastructure Program, which will be funded to $484.2 million over five years.
The termination of these industry assistance programs, according to the government, represents savings over $845 million. Businesses and start-ups will be encouraged to be commercially competitive from the get-go.Cuts to research bodies
Funding to Co-operative Research Centres (CRCs) has also been cut, with $80 million exiting the CRC program, effectively scrapping the next round of funding for CRCs.
Australia's leading research body CSIRO will see $146.8 million in funding cuts over the next four years. Along with this, 500 jobs representing around 10% of the CSIRO workforce, will be cut. It is as yet unknown which research programs will be axed as a result.
Meanwhile, National ICT Australia (NICTA) will be funded to a tune of $84.9 million in the next two years, as the government continues moving it towards a "self-sustaining funding model".
The Department of Communications and the Australian Research Council will each contribute $21.4 million in 2014–15 and $21.0 million in 2015–16.
NICTA, Australia’s Information Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence, was established to increase the scale and quality of Australian ICT research and development. It also builds new technology-focused start-ups.
Increasingly, NICTA will have to look for funding from the private sector and from research to support its operations. It is expected to be self-sustaining by June 2016.