$28M of taxpayer’s money to be spent on innovation agenda advertisement

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull listens to a question after announcing his new federal cabinet during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, September 20, 2015. Australia got its fifth prime minister in as many years on Monday after the ruling Liberal Party voted to replace Abbott with former investment banker Malcolm Turnbull, following months of infighting and crumbling voter support. Reuters/David Gray

Innovation Minister Christopher Pyne announced on Wednesday that the government will be spending $28 million of taxpayer's money to advertise its innovation agenda on television, social media, online and print products. Pyne said that the advertising campaign will be aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship.

“It will be designed to help change the culture around innovation and science in our businesses, engage young people to help inspire the entrepreneurs of the future and provide the key information to any Australian wanting to take a risk on a new business venture,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the innovation agenda last year and it was his first major policy announcement since he took office in September. Turnbull unveiled plans of investing $1.1 billion to uplift business-based research, development and innovation.

Pyne said that the campaign will allow Australia to enforce a “cultural shift” by enabling it to take more risk and explore new ideas.

"The National Innovation and Science Agenda will transform Australia's economy and will drive prosperity and competitiveness, producing jobs and growth, but it will only succeed if the changes are embraced by Australians," the ABC quoted him as saying.

According to Pyne, taking calculated risks is the norm in places like the Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and Berlin. He added that these places are moving faster towards an “innovative, agile economy,” and that Australia cannot afford to be left behind.

Contract records published last month by Pyne’s department revealed that it paid $455,290 to Orima Research which deduced, after conducting a business research, that Australia is in need of a “cultural shift.”

Pyne said that, according to the research, only one in twenty people thinks that Australia is a global leader in innovation but two-thirds believe the country needs to take more risks. The government is planning “on-the-ground community engagement” in metropolitan, regional and rural areas. 

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