PM Turnbull Puts 'innovation' Up Front And Centre
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The IT sector has largely welcomed Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to reinstate innovation into the industry-and-science portfolio and offer better access to the start-up community. As reported (CDN yesterday), Turnbull has appointed Christopher Pyne, formerly Education Minister under Tony Abbott, to the role of Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. Victorian Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield has become the country’s new Communications Minister.

“I think the major issue is that Malcolm Turnbull is now in charge,” independent communications analyst Paul Budde told CDN. 

“I assume Christopher Pyne will have to change his tune a bit and now follow the more liberal one from Malcolm Turnbull, rather than the attacking one from Tony Abbott. While I don’t know Mitch Fifield, I assume that Turnbull will remain the key person in charge for the moment on the NBN.”

Said Turnbull: “Christopher’s department, the Ministry for Industry, Innovation and Science, will drive the Government’s focus on investing in science, promoting science technology, engineering and mathematics, education, supporting start-ups and bringing together innovation initiatives right across government.”

Research and technology innovations organisations such as the CSIRO, formerly threatened by funding cuts and axings, may breath a bit easier after Pyne emphasised their importance.

“We have the researchers, the universities, the institutions such as CSIRO, Questacon and others who are world leading,” Pyne said. 

“We have cooperative research centres and industry growth centres and a very wide range of collaborative ventures around the globe. We have a major agenda in the commercialisation of research outcome.”

Meanwhile Mitch Fifield will assist the PM with a new “digital government” portfolio, presumably embracing the recently established Digital Technology Office (DTO). He has experience with the Communications portfolio, having previously represented Turnbull in the Senate.