Australia has a billion dollar plan to turn ideas into jobs | Economic news

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By NICK PERRY, Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Australian government said Tuesday it will spend more than $1 billion to turn research ideas into business successes as it seeks to improve the economy with an election looming.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a new program called Australia’s Economic Accelerator would focus on commercializing research in six areas: defence, space, minerals, food, medical products and clean energy .

“The main policy challenge is in the so-called ‘Valley of Death’, where early-stage research is often not advanced to later stages of development due to risk and uncertainty regarding commercial returns” , Morrison said.

He said the new program would help close that gap by investing in programs with strong business potential. It will work in stages, initially awarding many small grants and then awarding fewer but more valuable grants in later funding rounds. It is worth AU$1.6 billion ($1.1 billion) and is part of a larger AU$2.2 billion set.

Political cartoons about world leaders

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Morrison was speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, where he also reflected on the challenges he has faced since winning the last election in 2019.

“The past three years have been some of the most extraordinary our country has ever seen,” he said. “The younger generations have never experienced anything like this. The succession of natural disasters – from drought, to floods, to fires, to the plague, to a global pandemic that only occurs once in a century, to the recession it caused – has pushed our country to its limits. .

He said his government had been overly optimistic about the pandemic before the Australian summer and then had to make “massive changes” when case numbers soared with the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Morrison faces a tough electoral challenge from opposition leader Anthony Albanese, whose Labor Party led the coalition government in some opinion polls. Morrison has yet to announce a date for the election, which must take place before May 21.

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