Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) — I will briefly conclude my contribution to this debate on the budget by talking about innovation, which is really the cornerstone of ensuring that Victoria is able to create jobs and opportunities. This government has provided $60 million in the budget over four years to create what it calls a ‘Start-Up Victoria’ fund — a one-stop shop that will match our biggest entrepreneurs with the best ideas. The $60 million body will develop business cases, provide intellectual property and patents advice, and manage finances and investments. It will establish an expert panel. It is a really big idea that the Labor Party has put together. The unfortunate thing is that we are six months in the game and at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) we heard from the Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade. The Premier is now acting on his behalf because of unforeseen circumstances and is now responsible for defining what start-up actually is, because when the minister was asked at PAEC where he was with this particular important flagship project around innovation and start-up the minister replied, ‘We are yet to define what a start-up is. Before we get the panel in place, before we do anything, we need to define start-up’.
If that is how important this government thinks innovation is, the next three years are going to be very long when it comes to business, innovation and start-ups that are looking forward to some action, not a definition and action that is lacking and absolutely unseen from this current government.