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AIM Incentive to boost innovation and manufacturing in Australia

27-11-2014
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Australian industry leaders have called on Federal MPs to introduce a new tax incentive scheme to help boost innovation in Australian industry.

A deputation last week presented the Australian Innovation & Manufacturing (AIM) Incentive scheme to members and senators at Parliament House in Canberra.

John Alexander, the Member for Bennelong, hosted the event, with Bob Baldwin MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry in attendance.

Industry representatives and stakeholders included AusBiotech, Cook Medical Australia, the Export Council of Australia and the Medical Technology Association of Australia.

The AIM Incentive scheme is designed to boost Australia’s manufacturing and knowledge-based industries and international competitiveness.

Under the scheme, companies are encouraged to commercialise intellectual property (IP) both in and from Australia.

The incentive works by providing a reduction in the tax payable on profits derived from the commercialisation of qualifying IP (mainly, arising from patents or licences to patents) in Australia.

The presentation of the AIM Incentive model at Parliament follows the recent comments by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane that the government would give consideration to a “patent box”-type regime.

There are currently nine countries, including the UK, France, Netherlands and China that have adopted a similar “patent” or “innovation box”-style tax incentive policies.

Speaking at the event, Barry Thomas, Managing Director of Cook Medical Australia, said: “Over the last 12 months we have gathered a significant amount of support from industry for the proposed AIM Incentive as a policy that will foster entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialisation translating into job creation and economic growth.  We are encouraged by the Government’s acknowledgment of the proposed AIM Incentive here today, and we look forward to further discussions on how our proposed model could help to secure Australia’s ongoing international competitiveness.”

 Dr Anna Lavelle, Chief Executive Officer of AusBiotech said: “Australia’s biotech industry is an increasingly significant contributor to the economy with the very real potential to be a key driver of growth in the future. Our message to the Government today is that the AIM Incentive will support these local innovators and manufacturers, so they can maintain their global competitiveness and cultivate domestic innovation.”

Lisa McAuley of The Export Council of Australia said: “The relative success of our export-driven economy relies on Australia’s manufacturers being able to compete globally.  It is our hope the Government sees the proposed AIM Incentive as a viable solution to the challenge of retaining IP domestically, allowing our manufacturers to continually operate in and export from Australia.”

Susi Tegen, Chief Executive of the Medical Technology Association of Australia said: “If we are to maximise Australia’s skills base and global reputation for outstanding innovation in the medical technology sector, we must address the environment and outflow of IP overseas. We are delighted the Government is listening about how the proposed AIM Incentive could support Australian ideas being commercialised and manufactured locally, with the aim of growing the export market, indeed the economy, for this crucial and positive sector.”

The group, representing many of Australia’s leading innovators, manufacturers and exporters, including AusBiotech, Cook Medical Australia, the Export Council of Australia and the Medical Technology Association of Australia, collectively propose the AIM Incentive, and are looking to the Government to incorporate it into the current review of Australia’s tax system.

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