Budget 2018: The details

MTPConnect has welcomed the Australian Government’s 2018 Budget, with a targeted focus on economic growth to drive ongoing innovation, research translation, industry-research collaboration and commercialisation in the Australian MTP sector. In addition, the announcement of significant health initiatives will benefit Australian patients through access to medical innovations. Read the full MTPConnect statement on Budget 2018.

Budget 2018: Specific initiatives

The Australian Government has committed to invest approximately $2.4 billion in growing Australia’s research, science and technology capabilities.

R&D Tax Incentive

Reforms of the R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI) are designed to encourage additional investment in R&D and ensure RDTI long-term sustainability. Consistent with the recommendations of the ISA 2030 Strategic Plan, a $4 million annual cap on cash refunds will be implemented for companies with turnover under $20 million, with no lifetime cap. Amounts in excess of the yearly cap will become a non-refundable tax offset and can be carried forward into future income years. The exclusion of clinical trials from the $4 million annual cap on RDTI cash refunds illustrates the value of clinical trials for both economic growth and health outcomes. Larger companies with an annual turnover above $20 million will receive a new research and development premium, with multiple higher scaled rates of R&D support for higher R&D intensity of activities and expenditure. The impact for R&D intensive companies is also recognised with an intensity component and increased cap to $150 million, allowing larger companies to continue to be rewarded for additional R&D as they grow. These measures are expected to increase R&D activity undertaken in Australia.

Export Hubs Initiative

The $20 million Export Hubs Initiative will help Australian businesses to grow, export and increase local and regional jobs. The Export Hubs Initiative will fund local and regional hubs which are aligned with the six Growth Centre sectors: Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals (MTPConnect); Advanced Manufacturing; Cyber Security; Food and Agribusiness; Mining Equipment, Technology and Services; and Oil, Gas and Energy Resources.

The Export Hubs Initiative will complement and build upon Growth Centres’ existing clustering activities as well as other regional development initiatives. The existing cluster organisations Growth Centres are working with will be able to take advantage of this initiative. It will also fund new hubs.

Through the hubs, local and regional businesses will learn from each other to support their export growth. The hubs will:

  • deliver improved local capability to increase exports, encourage growth and create jobs
  • help small business access primary buyers and supply chains through export networking and supply chain events by highlighting international market opportunities and by targeting collaborative activities between firms in different sectors (e.g. between packaging, food, biotechnology and transport firms)
  • provide market intelligence about export opportunities
  • develop export strategies, building on identified local strengths
  • enhance workforce skills through training and seminars

The Export Hubs Initiative will provide matched funding of up to $1.5 million per annum for up to four years from 2018-19 to 2021-22, and will open for applications in 2018-19.

Industry Growth Centres

The Government has agreed to extend funding for the six existing Growth Centres by an additional two years. This will allow Growth Centres to build on their initial successes and allow a further two years to achieve self-sufficiency.

Other announcements from the Industry, Innovation and Science Portfolio include:

  • The Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan will deliver cutting edge digital infrastructure.
  • $29.9 million to build Australia’s Artificial Intelligence capability to support businesses and workers, including funding for CRC projects with a focus on AI, and a national framework to address standards and ethics for the use of this technology.
  • $20 million to support Australian innovation in Asia. This will help capture opportunities for Australian business, entrepreneurs and researchers in Asia, a region that stands to deliver nearly two-thirds of global growth to 2030 and continues the successful Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
  • $4.5 million to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers. This will comprise the Women in Science Strategy and the development of the Decadal Plan for Women in Science, and includes the previously announced Women in Science Ambassador.

The 2018–19 Budget has delivered a $12.4 billion increase in the Health Budget. The Government will deliver $6 billion in funding for Australia’s health and medical research sector, including $3.5 billion for the National Health and Medical Research Council, $2 billion in disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund and $500 million from the Biomedical Translation Fund.

National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan

A National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan will receive $1.3 billion to drive better health care; develop Australia as a global destination for medical sector jobs, research and clinical trials; and support greater research to increase jobs and the growth of new firms and industries. The Australian Government has predicted that the Growth Plan will generate an additional $18 billion for the Australian economy; 28,000 new jobs; a minimum of 130 new clinical trials; and a 50% increase in exports.

An Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission will be established, with investment of $500 million over 10 years that will help save or transform the lives of more than 200,000 Australian’s through research into better testing, diagnosis and treatment. The first genomics project will be Mackenzie’s Mission, with $20 million being provided for a pre-conception screening trial for rare and debilitating birth disorders including Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Fragile X and Cystic Fibrosis.

A targeted Translation Research Accelerator will be established in chronic conditions focused on diabetes and heart diseases, with $125 million over nine years from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The accelerator aims to help early stage health and medical research to progress to late stage research and commercial success with support from philanthropic and business co-funding.

The $1.3 billion National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan:

  • $500 million over ten years for a Genomics Health Futures Mission;
  • $240 million over four years for a Frontier Health and Medical Research program to develop innovative medical ideas, research, devices and treatments;
  • $248 million over four years for an expanded Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need clinical trials program, new international clinical trial collaborations and commencement of work on a national clinical trials front door;
  • $94 million over four years for industry research collaborations and biomedical and medical technology programs;
  • $30 million to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to improve accessibility to health information and statistics; and
  • $20 million to support the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board.

Other announcements from the Health Portfolio include:

  • $12.4 billion increase in the Health Budget.
  • $6 billion for Australia’s health and medical research sector, including $3.5 billion for the NHMRC, $2 billion disbursements from the MRFF, $500 million from the Biomedical Translation Fund, and a new $240 million Frontier Science Program to develop innovative medical ideas, research, devices and treatments.
  • $2.4 billion investment in new medicines to improve access to life-changing and life-saving medicines, including $1 billion to maintain listing all new medicines recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
  • $4.8 billion additional investment in Medicare, with a further credit of $35.3 billion to meet the estimates Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme expenditure for 2018-19.
  • an increase of $338.1 million in mental health funding, with a focus on suicide prevention, research and older Australians and advancing the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

For more information:

  • www.budget.gov.au
  • Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash - Media Release
  • The Hon Greg Hunt MP - Media Release
  • R&D Tax Incentive Fact Sheet