01 August 2018

Local Federal Member Madeleine King says it is alarming that Kwinana's chances of getting a world-class lithium resources project may be hindered because of Turnbull Government changes to Research & Development grants.

Responding to last week's report in the Sound Telegraph, Ms King said WA and Australia could not afford to miss out on an industry that could ultimately generate thousands of jobs and huge annual revenue.

"Since it was introduced in 1985 and through many iterations, the R&D tax concession has been a major incentive for businesses to invest in Australian industry," Ms Kind said.   

“However, after allowing the scheme to blow out - by neglecting to crack down on inappropriate claiming in recent years, the Turnbull Government has made the claiming criteria and process needlessly complex.

“The changes proposed risk reducing business R&D further.”

Ms King also pointed to comments on June 29 by Northern Minerals managing director George Bauk that the company’s $56 million rare earths plant in Kimberley would not have been built if the cut backs had been introduced a year earlier.

In the Sound Telegraph report on 25 July, Lithium Australia boss Adrian Griffin said cuts in Turnbull Government R&D tax breaks could hinder and curtail WA’s prospects of becoming a battery market leader. He said the budget cuts to R&D could hamper any capacity to create a lithium hub.

Ms King said Labor understood that R&D was a critical part of the overall innovation system.

“We have set a long term goal of R&D to be 3 per cent of GDP by 2030 which would put us in line with other OECD countries.

“Labor will have a long term commitment and a systematic approach to supporting innovation.  We will continue to work to get better collaboration between business and the research sector.

“Regarding the current proposals, we are talking to stakeholders and looking at ways of protecting the financial sustainability of the scheme but maintaining its integrity as effective support to business R&D.”