Over a billion dollars were cut from industry assistance programs in last night’s federal budget.
Cuts to eight programs, including Commercialisation Australia and Enterprise Connect, will save $845.6 million over the next five years, reports The Australian.
There are also cuts to the Cooperative Research Centres program and the CSIRO, as well as reduced funding for Clean Technology programs and the end of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. These measures will save a projected $124.5 million over the next five years.
The budget “will redirect taxpayers’ dollars from spending that is consumed today to productive investment for tomorrow,” according to the Budget Overview.
“The Budget continues the evolution towards programmes that facilitate innovation and self-reliance, by reducing and reshaping existing industry assistance programmes into a new Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme that will focus on supporting commercialisation of good ideas, job creation and lifting the capability of small business.”
Innes Willox from the Australian Industry Group said the Entrepreneurs programme needed to be explained to businesses, but, “We're hoping is that it will cherry-pick the best of programs like Enterprise Connect, like Commercialisation Australia, all the research funding, pull that together and make it very industry-focused.
"So that the focus changes from grants to advice, and that's something that we would welcome on the whole.”