Australia's Biotechnology and Life Sciences sector is crying out for further support on innovation and commercialisation if it wants to remain a corner stone of an economy operating in a post mining boom environment.
Unfortunately this was overlooked in the 2015 Federal Budget with a lack of any significant measures to encourage commercialisation in Australia.
"We're disappointed we didn't see any incentives encouraging commercialisation that we've seen work so well in other parts of the world, like the patent box schemes introduced in the UK," said Michael Cunningham, National Head of Life Sciences, Grant Thornton Australia.
There was unfortunately an unexpected and sly cut to the R&D incentive. Specifically the Government has signalled that it will continue to make cuts of 1.5% to both the R&D refundable tax offset (43.5%) and the non-refundable tax offset (38.5%) despite not going forward with its intended 1.5% corporate tax rate.
"As most people are aware, the R&D incentive is a cornerstone underpinning Australian innovation and it is extremely disappointing to see the incentive still being under attack despite being an extremely successful policy to date.
"This Budget does little to soothe the unease amongst the local Australian biotech industry, who believe the Government can be doing more to encourage innovation and commercialisation in Australia," said Mr Cunningham.
A recent survey conducted by Ausbiotech, supported by Grant Thornton, revealed the need for local companies to work globally and, sadly, fight to keep their operations in Australia as the international environment gets more competitive and Australia's policy environment fails to adequately respond.
"This budget was a missed opportunity to increase confidence in the sector by creating an environment that supports innovation and encourage biotechnology companies to operate in Australia.
"Innovation is supported globally, let's not risk seeing our ideas commercialised in other parts of the world for the global economy to enjoy at our expense," said Mr Cunningham
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