Labor’s Innovation Boost Great For The Illawarra


Federal Illawarra MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones have today said that Labor’s positive plan to invest in the creation of an innovation and education economy will be of huge benefit to the region.

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $17.8 million in important reforms to drive a new generation of innovators, risk-takers and wealth-creators. 

As part of the plan Labor will:

  • Create a “Startup Year” at universities so students can develop their idea, get business knowhow and connect with finance.
  • Commit to the development of a National Digital Workforce Plan to tackle digital skills shortages.
  • Introduce two new visa classes to attract entrepreneurial talent to Australia.
  • Establish an Innovation Investment Partnership designed to identify and overcome barriers to investment in local venture capital funds.

Sharon Bird said that the announcement was further evidence of Labor’s long-held commitment to fostering innovation. 

“If we want to boost productivity and growth in regions like the Illawarra we need to support innovators, risk-takers and wealth-creators. Already there is great work being done at the University’s iAccelerate hub which has been of interest to several Shadow Ministers who have visited recently. 

“Labor has a proud record in Government in investing to develop our city’s reputation as the City of Innovation. We invested almost $135 million in the construction of new University of Wollongong facilities including two developments at the Innovation Campus, the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre and the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials.  This investment and Labor’s plans to further boost innovation and the education economy will help the Innovation Campus to connect with businesses locally and globally.” 

Stephen Jones said that the Illawarra had everything to gain from Labor’s positive plan for a smarter, more prosperous and innovative Australia. 

“Right now the local economy is in a state of transition. Labor is committed to doing everything we can save jobs in steel and coal, but we need to recognise that the jobs of the future will be in companies that don’t exist today. 

“I’m confident that the Illawarra can grasp new opportunities with both hands and that is why Labor’s plan is so important -  we must get smarter or we will get poorer. 

“Of course all of this requires Labor’s first rate NBN for all Australians – the biggest, most important infrastructure investment Australia will make this century. A large number of businesses in the Illawarra operate from home and that number is set to grow; they need 21st broadband, not Malcolm Turnbull’s frayed 19th century copper wire.” 

More information about how Labor will boost productivity and growth with science, skills, knowledge and a culture that supports innovators, risk-takers and wealth-creators is available at