04 December 2015

 Encouraging greater innovation should be a national economic priority – and it’s one that will require the commitment, resources and know-how of many across our nation.


At the moment, however, around two-thirds of Australia’s startup activity takes place in just one city: Sydney.


Labor believes that government should play a role in encouraging the spread of innovation activity across the country.


Labor will create a Regional Innovation Fund, which will kickstart initiatives to expand the role of Australia’s regions in contributing to the national innovation effort.


Combined with Labor’s plan for a Startup Year – encouraging the entry of around 2,000 graduate-led enterprises a year – this initiative will provide a strong platform for regionally-led innovation.


A Shorten Labor Government would fund the establishment of up to 20 new accelerators over three years, based on applications from consortia that must include, at a minimum:


  • a regional university or TAFE;

  • local government(s); and

  • a local business organisation (such as a Chamber of Commerce) or a group of local businesses.


Each consortium would receive seed funding of up to $500,000 per year for three years, which must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar with funding from the consortium or other sources.


The aim is to establish self-sustaining Regional Innovation Hubs within universities or TAFEs that are closely integrated with the local business community.


Metropolitan universities will be eligible for grants of up to $200,000 per year to establish or expand an accelerator or incubator, which will also need to be matched dollar-for-dollar by either the university, industry or other sources.


Labor understands that innovation is not something that just occurs in cities – companies and individuals across regional Australia are embracing innovation and entrepreneurship to strengthen local economies.


A truly national network would raise the profile of entrepreneurship and boost the number and success rate of technology entrepreneurs among university students and graduates.


In recent years, Australian universities have been investing in new ways to support student entrepreneurs.


Australia already has around 25 tech startup accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces that support around 250 tech startups each year, including several university-based incubators and accelerators.


However, the establishment of accelerators and incubators at metropolitan universities has not been replicated to the same degree in regional and rural tertiary institutions.


Central to our approach will be a commitment to consult and work with regions to ensure that the Regional Innovation Fund provides the greatest possible benefit to a regional innovation effort.


To read more about Labor’s positive plan to power innovation visit