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Turnbull calls for backing for innovation, R&D and productivity

Australia is no longer a high wage, high skill economy competing against low wage, low skill economies, but rather competing against low wage, high skill economies, according to Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, Malcolm Turnbull.

As such, the government must create a judicious support environment to back innovation, research and development (RND), and productivity, he said at the Kickstart conference on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

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There are still numerous impedements to overcome before this is possible, with "access to skilled persons in a particular location" and "lack of access to additional sources of funds" topping the list, Turnbull said.

In addition, the root of the issue is that Australia is a "highly educated country with a non-deferential culture, and does not feel it is doing good enough at innovation, and does not commercialise innovation and RND sufficiently."

The key drivers to counter these fronts are technology change, and the management and adoption of technology. Although, while the National Broadband Network (NBN) proposition promises to create a "digital nirvana" that will eliminate all challenges, the next issue is access.

He said that the productivity challenge is not just about finding the next Zuckerberg, but finding the plumber down the street and, therefore, the NBN challenge is ensuring its benefits are enjoyed by as many as possible.

"The biggest barrier to accessing Internet is not technology, but lack of income," Turnbull said. "The lowest percentage of people online are those in the lowest income bracket."


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