The Research and Development tax credit legislation – passed last week by the House of Representatives with the support of all six independent MPs – would have given many more businesses access to critical R&D incentives.
Instead, the Coalition has chosen to obstruct the Government’s R&D tax credit reform agenda. It will now not be voted on until February at the earliest, ensuring investment in genuine R&D will be stymied and opportunities to create jobs lost.
Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, said the Coalition’s decision had postponed what would have been the biggest reform for R&D tax credit incentives in a generation.
“Innovation is the key to greater productivity, more skilled jobs, higher wages and a better quality of life for all Australians,” Senator Carr said.
“We announced these R&D tax credit benefits in the 2009 Budget. They double the benefit for SMEs and increase by a third the benefit for larger companies. These changes could have been flowing through the economy.
“The Government worked with industry to ensure the R&D tax credit legislation would bring the benefits of R&D to a new generation of companies and unlock innovation across the economy. Smart, innovative, high-tech companies are the losers as a result of the Coalition’s obstructionist tactics.
“The Coalition from the very beginning decided to block the R&D Tax Credit legislation, despite two years of consultations, a Senate inquiry and calls from business to provide more support.
“The R&D tax credit legislation would have strengthened the incentives for Australian and overseas companies to invest in innovative firms in Australia.
“The Government is determined to implement this transformational R&D Tax credit reform.”
Liberal Party Response
Innovation Minister Kim Carr must stop impersonating a broken record – and stop the spin on the research and development (R&D) changes he wants to force on to Australian businesses.
Mr Carr has this afternoon chosen to use a Ministerial media release to (again) accuse the Coalition of filibustering to prevent a Senate vote on his planned changes to the R&D tax credit.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Coalition has been awaiting this debate since September 2009 – and, unlike our political opponents, we have not shied away once from that R&D tax debate.
Far from backing away from any vote on R&D, we want him to bring one on immediately and to resolve this issue for once and for all.
The reality is that Labor botched its administration of the schedule – and itself chose to prioritise several other items of legislation ahead of the R&D tax credit Bill, even for the now-extended sessions on Thursday and Friday.
If Mr Carr was letting the sunshine in and offering full transparency, he would confirm that the Coalition could easily have refused Labor the chance to add the Bill to its planned program (under Senate cut-off orders) this week.
We actually did the opposite.
When he has finished apologising to the business community for his atrocious mismanagement of the R&D tax credit issue and his unwillingness to discuss our sensible and practical amendments, he also needs to retract his shameless smear of the Coalition.
Verballing the Opposition is an appalling tactic, and it should not be allowed to conceal the fact that this R&D tax credit mess is entirely of Labor’s own making.