ISA releases plan for Australia to thrive in global innovation race

January 30th, 2018

As Australia celebrates 26 years of continuous economic growth, Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) releases their plan for Australia to further thrive in the global innovation race. ISA has released their report titled “Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation,” which provides a roadmap for governments to accelerate Australia’s innovation system by 2030. The report is a strategic plan to advise policy makers on how to accelerate innovation and optimise Australia’s innovation system.

In planning towards 2030, innovation will continue to be integral to the expansion of Australia’s economy, which will keep its workforce strong and address societal challenges. Some keys factors which will ensure Australia remains competitive in the global innovation race is scaling up more high-growth industries and companies, commercialising more high-value products and services, fostering great talent, and daring to tackle global challenges.

With respect to the research and development (R&D) sector, ISA’s plan is to maintain the excellence that has become its hallmark, while increasing the incentives for collaboration and commercialisation.

ISA has restated and clarified several recommendations made during the previous review of the R&D Tax Incentive programme in 2016, which the government has not yet responded to. Some key recommendations within the latest report include the following:

  • Proposing to increase business R&D by better targeting the R&D Tax Incentive to SME entities which were found to be more reliant on the programme. Additionally also refocussing government support for business R&D from indirect measures (R&D Tax Incentive) to more direct measures (Grants).
  • Clarifying the proposed operation of Cost Control Recommendations made during the review of the R&D tax incentives. The proposed cap on refundable offsets is proposed to operate whereby a cap of $4 million per year would apply and a maximum cumulative refund of $40 million per company should be applied. Additionally, the proposed intensity threshold for large companies would apply such that all R&D expenditure is claimable once a trigger level of 1% of a company’s total R&D expenditure is reached. Therefore, a company would need to have R&D expenditure equal to 1% of their total business expenditure to be able to claim.
  • Proposing to increase Industry-research sector collaboration by introducing a collaboration premium in the R&D Tax Incentive as recommended in the original review of the programme.
  • Increasing Export Market Development Grant funding which hopes to encourage the growth of exporting firms such as young high-growth firms.

The ISA board is confident that Australia can become a top-tier innovation nation by 2030 and retain its record-breaking streak with its 30 recommendations throughout the report.


Companies with a turnover of under $20 million can receive a tax offset of 43.5% for eligible expenditure (38.5% for companies with a turnover over $20 million). To find out more about Research and Development and whether your company could be eligible for the R&D tax incentive Contact Swanson Reed R&D Tax Advisors.  Swanson Reed is Australia’s largest R&D Tax Advisory firm and specialise in only R&D claims.