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Budget 2014: Dream killer

Brian Karlovsky | June 13, 2014
When executive, Dan Bognar, sat down in his living room with his nine-year-old son to watch the Budget recently, it was with disappointment that he revealed an uncomfortable truth about the future of ICT in Australia to his son.

"The Department of Communications has also developed a Cloud Computing Regulatory Stock Take [RST}, which provides a detailed overview of the regulation affecting the Australian Cloud services market," he said. The RST will be published soon.

No incentives to invest

Distribution Central chief executive, Nick Verykios, said the government was robbing the country of innovative opportunity in an attempt to follow accounting process.

"As a CEO I am livid, there is no point hiding behind the truth," he said."Accounting does not run companies, just like accounting does not run countries.

"This government has no clue when it comes to the outcomes of investment. They have taken away all the incentives left to invest in this country. Successful businesses have always been the ones who have invested ahead of the curve."

Verykios said questions regarding business confidence were being asked very early in the piece. He reiterated his call for the government to invest in the country's future.

"I hope common sense prevails and that the people who thought this was all a good idea are held accountable," he said. "Imagine if I ran my business that way, I would be crucified.

"I would like to see them investing significantly in making sure Australia is not an afterthought in the information revolution. I have spoken to a lot of people and the common theme is 'why would you bother to stay here as a company?'"

Treasurer, Joe Hockey, said the government's focus would be on strengthening the overall business environment so that enterprises "large or small" could create more jobs in Australia.

Despite this, the government is also yet to move on flagged changes to the Employee Share Share Scheme, which would benefit startups.But, in a rare bright spot, the government not only ignored the National Commission of Audit's recommendation to scrap the Export Market Development grant but also increased funding of the program by $50 million.

Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) president, Suzanne Campbell was disappointed the government didn't announce any changes to the current Employee Share Scheme.

"In relation to innovation, while applauding the creation of the world's largest medical research endowment fund, the AIIA is seeking to better understand how the establishment of the Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme will redress the abolition of programs including Commercialisation Australia, Enterprise Connect, Industry Innovation Precincts and Industry Innovation Funds, to ensure that Australia is well positioned to create sustainable prosperity and meet emerging global competition."

Data#3 managing director, John Grant said the abolition of the innovation programs would impact the sector, but also cited the need to encourage the private sector to invest more in startups.

"Predictably, they took some big knives to the whole innovation budget, but it's a pity there weren't more incentives for the private sector.


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