Business bails on R&D

Business expenditure on research and development went backwards last year

According to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015-16 spending was $16.6bn, down 11 per cent on the previous year and just above investment in 2009-10. As a per centage of GDP, BERD dropped from 1.19 per cent in 13-14 to 1.01 per cent in 15-16.

The biggest contraction was in the mining industry, down 34 per cent, followed by manufacturing at 19 per cent.

By research field, engineering took the biggest hit, declining by 26 per cent, while IT grew by 9 per cent.

According to research policy observers the decline in spending reflects decisions made before the Turnbull Government’s innovation strategy, although the continuing absence of a government response to the Ferris-Finkel-Fraser review of the R&D tax incentive cannot be encouraging investment now.


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