Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations, reflects on what the 2022-23 federal budget means for deep tech
This was always going to be a course correction budget designed to address fundamental issues across wages, cost of living, housing, health, climate change, and education, to name just a few.
Yet despite this, the government may have simultaneously managed to allocate more investment into critical growth sectors than Australia has seen for multiple terms of federal government.
It’s extremely pleasing to see that climate change and decarbonisation have permeated throughout a great number of the budget decisions. From deep tech, to manufacturing, regional growth, national reconstruction, jobs, skills, and all the way to indigenous led support. The climate change bill and targets are visibly influencing this Government’s first federal budget.
Committing to ambitious goals in energy transition can help to spur growth in local SMEs that will be in a prime position to scale impactful solutions. In turn we should see a strong growth in translational research driving new innovations to market, as these SMEs grow in size and complexity of product offerings.
If this vision and investment continues, and increases, then Australia may reverse its decline in the economic complexity index, innovation index, and various other international competitiveness markers.
Focusing on the inevitable energy transition will drive both innovation and manufacturing, while supporting scaleups. Connecting this transition to skills and TAFE will help to align skills with opportunities. We hope that this continues and is amplified in future budgets.
It's also great to see the strong focus on inclusion in areas such as gender, regional communities, our First Nations citizens, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups.”
National Reconstruction Fund
We’d like to see more details when it comes to the proposed National Reconstruction Fund, because if this is focused on scaling existing SMEs, it's a strong signal that we are investing in capacity building of industry leaders for the future.
We should also ensure that this funding solves the multiple funding ‘valleys of death’ encountered specifically by deep tech SMEs.”
Investing in manufacturing technologies is critical to national supply chain resilience, but we need to be strategic and smart. Instead of duplicating capabilities in every state, we should be building out manufacturing capabilities that can be a core resource for many companies to use.
A great overseas example of this can be found in UMC, a joint venture between the Taiwanese government and a consortium of local companies.
This investment ended up being a catalyst for Taiwan becoming the global leader in semiconductor fabrication and created a $147 billion industry, dozens of spinoffs from early-stage participants, a thriving value chain, increased global demand from a diversified customer base, and transformed the Taiwanese economy.
Revitalising Australian industries
The $113.6 million allocated towards revitalising Australian industries is a welcome continuation of grants to be allocated to deep tech and manufacturing companies such as biotech in Ipswitch, advanced manufacturing in Adelaide, and low carbon zinc in Hobart.”
A better future for our regions
We support and are looking forward to seeing more detail on the Precincts and Partnerships Program, because we strongly believe that bringing people together locally around collective challenges leads to positive outcomes.