13 May 2015

Labor believes our potential as a nation comes from the creativity and ingenuity of Australians.

We know our future prosperity depends on harnessing Australian entrepreneurship and defining a new global market for world-leading Australian products.

Australia has an unprecedented opportunity to transition from an economy based on resources, primary industries and domestically focused businesses to one based on high-growth, knowledge-intensive businesses that can compete globally.

A Shorten Labor Government will work hand in hand with banks, the finance industry, venture capital and tens of thousands of Australian entrepreneurs to harness the smarts and skills of our people to drive economic growth and create the jobs of the future.

The recent Startup Economy study undertaken by PwC and commissioned by Google Australia projected that in the right conditions high-growth technology companies could contribute 4 per cent  of GDP (or $109 billion) and add 540,000 jobs to the Australian economy by 2033 from a base of approximately 0.2 per cent of GDP today.

  1. Start-Up Finance

Currently Australian micro-businesses either struggle to get a loan or may borrow via other means, such as residential mortgages, in the absence of cheaper, more appropriate financing alternatives.

We want to help more Australians convert their great ideas into good businesses. We will enable entrepreneurs to access the capital they need to start and grow their enterprises without them having to take risks on the family home.

Labor will work with the banks and finance industry to develop Start-Up Finance, a partial guarantee scheme which will improve access to finance for Australian micro-businesses.

Under Start-Up Finance, Labor will examine partially guaranteeing small loans from banks and finance institutions to give start-ups the affordable capital they need to get going with their business.

Australia is one of the only countries in the developed world without such a scheme in place.

  1. Smart Investment Fund

Labor will create a new, $500 million Smart Investment Fund which will back-in great Australian ideas and help them compete on the world stage.

The Smart Investment Fund will partner with venture capitalists and licensed fund managers to co-invest in early stage and high potential companies, providing a Commonwealth investment of up to 50 per cent of the start-up capital needed to help Australian companies commercialise their smart ideas and innovations.

The Smart Investment Fund will open two rounds over five years, with the intention of making it a rolling program, to develop an ecosystem for ongoing innovation and jobs.

In addition to providing a co-investment, businesses supported by the Smart Investment Fund will gain access to expert advice in commercialisation and access to international networks.

The Smart Investment Fund will be based on the successful Innovation and Industry Funds (IIF) which were created by the Howard Government in 1998 and cut by the Abbott Government in last year’s Budget.

The IIF operated to support the establishment of long-term funds to develop high-growth, globally competitive Australian companies which leveraged our strong research capabilities. More than 100 companies, in industries as diverse as manufacturing, clean technology, software and biotechnology, were supported by the IIF before its abolition.

These investments included the world’s largest online job ads company,, which was created in Australia with the support the Australian Government. A $2.5 million investment, provided with the assistance of the Australian Government in 1998, has helped to grow what is now a $5 billion company with 500 employees in Australia.