Innovation and an innovative culture are the keys to building sustainable businesses. Producing innovative goods and services, and being more creative in the way we do things, will increase our productivity, improve our standard of living and ensure we sustain our international competitiveness and economic performance into the future. Australian businesses that innovate are more than twice as likely to report increased productivity and profitability than those that do not.
The Australian Government plays a critical role in encouraging innovation, both through creating favourable economic conditions and through more direct measures. Our policies and programs build on the four principles promoted by the Australian Innovation Festival: creativity; connectedness; collaboration; and commercialisation.
We have established Commercialisation Australia as a radical new approach to commercialising our best research. Financial assistance will be available to help Australian innovators, whether in universities or private companies, bring their ideas to market.
The Cooperative Research Centres program remains the Governmentâs premier program for establishing long-term collaborative partnerships between researchers and businesses. These partnerships are critical in addressing Australiaâs innovation needs and delivering social, environmental and economic outcomes for all Australians. In addition, our new Joint Research Engagement scheme will reward universities that increase their collaboration with business and other non-university researchers.
Australians are renowned innovators. The rotary clothesline, the motorised lawnmower and the wine cask stand along side the atomic absorption spectrometer, the bionic ear and in-vitro fertilisation as internationally recognised Australian innovations. Empowering people to innovate provides new ideas, knowledge and capabilities and is crucial for us to succeed in the world of the 21st centuryâa world in which skills and innovation will determine our prosperity.
An inclusive society recognises that it is the everyday experiences, the skills and talent of all citizens, not just researchers in high-tech laboratories, that powers innovation. That is why schools reform and improvements in our tertiary education system will nurture the long term skills, innovation and productivity of our population.
As the world economy recovers from the global downturn, knowledge, skills, workforce participation and sustainable production are going to be needed more than ever. Our social, environmental and economic performances are deeply intertwined and we will not succeed in any of these areas unless we harness the talents of all Australians. If our education and training system is to support a creative and innovative society we need to consider how we do it, how well we do it and what we teach.
All secondary schools in Australia have been given the opportunity to access Australian Government funding to bring them to a 1:2 computer to student ratio for students in Years 9-12. With computers that are networked using high speed broadband connections, students and teachers alike can share information with each other, collaborate and find new ways to make ideas and information understandable and meaningful using digital technologies such as blogs, wikis, video conferencing and other Web 2.0/3.0 functionality.
The tertiary education system has a central role in the Australian innovation system; Universities, the CSIRO and Cooperative Research Centres have a dual function of knowledge creation through research, and knowledge diffusion through teaching or consulting to business. To maintain, or better Australiaâs world-class reputation in research, the Government is funding reforms that will educate the graduates needed by an economy based n knowledge, skills and innovation.
In an increasingly interconnected world, globalisation is driving change in almost every aspect of life, from how we connect with our friends and family to the kinds of work we do, from where we live, to who lives in our communities. And we love new technology; Australians are some of the fastest adopters of new technology in the industrialised world.
However, we are also driving the technological forefront in many disciplines and industries.