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Innovation in NSW cut under Labor

The Minns Labor Government’s Budget has confirmed an extensive string of cuts to innovation programs here in NSW.

Following Labor’s Comprehensive Expenditure Review which put many programs on hold, this week’s budget confirmed the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade’s grants and subsidies have been cut by over $1 billion, a 55% decrease to what the former Coalition Government had allocated to the Department in last year’s June 2022-23 Budget.

Shadow Minister for Jobs, Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology, Mark Coure has criticised the Minns Government for stripping funding from arts, cultural and innovation programs that will now leave start-ups and innovation hubs in the lurch.

“The former Coalition Government was the national leader in supporting the start-up sector, driving innovation in our state; now the Minns Labor Government have turned the innovation state into the place where ideas go to die.”

“The Minns Labor Government cannot claim that these grants were unfunded,” Mr Coure said.

“They were fully funded in the Coalition’s 2022/23 Budget, with applications pouring in throughout the first half of this year, and a number deciding to base their operations in Sydney rather than interstate or overseas – Chris Minns has now left them in the lurch.”

“Minister Chanthivong’s recent comments today show that he is out of touch with the innovation sector and ignored criticisms earlier this year after he placed many funding programs on hold.”

“Initiatives like the Small Business Innovation & Research program are already based on successful long-running programs internationally. The argument that these programs need to be cut or receive reduced funding until more Minns Government reviews have occurred is absurd.”

Liberal MLC, Jacqui Munro said without incentives to set up and stay in NSW, start-ups and innovators will move interstate or overseas where they can get better bang for their buck.

“The benefits of maintaining our state as the best place to start a business cannot be overstated. The Victorian and Queensland governments are offering generous packages to start-ups looking for a stable, supportive home base. Unfortunately, after just six months of the Minns Labor Government, NSW is already going backwards.” Ms Munro said.

Murray Hurps, Chair of innovation and tech group, Spark Festival said capacity to support innovation doesn't appear overnight, and anything that diminishes this capability doesn't just create a need to restore it, but also a need to rebuild it.

“There are thousands of hard-working innovators that will be badly affected by these cuts, but the larger impact will be felt by NSW in the future through the foregone productivity uplift,” Mr Hurps said.