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The Federal Government is committed to making innovation a centrepiece of the Australian economy. Policy Hack is an opportunity for industry to develop and pitch innovative solutions to some of Australia’s most pressing policy problems and help foster the growth of innovation industries in Australia.

Along with Assistant Minister for Innovation Hon. Wyatt Roy MP, BlueChilli will bring together representatives from startups, VC funds, accelerators and other components of the innovation ecosystem, with policy experts from departments of Treasury, Industry and Communications to collaborate in a one-day industry policy hackathon in Sydney, Saturday 17 October 2015.

We’ll use the hackathon methodology to nominate, select and work together in mixed teams on new government policy ideas designed to foster the growth of innovation industries including tech startups, biotech, agtech, fintech, renewables and resources.

Funding, taxation, education, migration — everything is on the table.

The champions on the highest voted policies will be invited to Sydney to lead teams on the day to workshop their ideas with government representatives.

The goal is to present a set of creative new ideas to an audience of government officials by the end of the day, to give them the top-line thinking from which full policy can be developed and implemented.

If you have a policy idea or you’d like to see and vote on which policy ideas are collaborated on at Policy Hack, you can get started right now.

The Federal Government is committed to making innovation a centrepiece of the Australian economy. Policy Hack is an opportunity for industry to develop and pitch innovative solutions to some of Australia’s most pressing policy problems and help foster the growth of innovation industries in Australia.

Along with Assistant Minister for Innovation Hon. Wyatt Roy MP, BlueChilli will bring together representatives from startups, VC funds, accelerators and other components of the innovation ecosystem, with policy experts from departments of Treasury, Industry and Communications to collaborate in a one-day industry policy hackathon in Sydney, Saturday 17 October 2015.

We’ll use the hackathon methodology to nominate, select and work together in mixed teams on new government policy ideas designed to foster the growth of innovation industries including tech startups, biotech, agtech, fintech, renewables and resources.

Funding, taxation, education, migration — everything is on the table.

The champions on the highest voted policies will be invited to Sydney to lead teams on the day to workshop their ideas with government representatives.

The goal is to present a set of creative new ideas to an audience of government officials by the end of the day, to give them the top-line thinking from which full policy can be developed and implemented.

If you have a policy idea or you’d like to see and vote on which policy ideas are collaborated on at Policy Hack, you can get started right now.

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The "1% rule". Mandate that 1% of all superannuation must be invested in venture capital. PROBLEM: Australia has plenty of entrepreneurs and increasingly there is enough seed investment around to get ventures off the ground. But startups move offshore when they need a Series A/B to grow. Seed-stage startups typically don't employ many people and don't make a profit. It's only when they get to the growth stage and they hire 50, 100, 200 people etc and start turning a profit that they deliver a net benefit to society. Right now, those companies are going offshore because there just aren't enough VCs who play in the Series A or B space ($1m-$10m) and valuations are a lot lower than overseas, which means Australia is missing out on the startup companies that actually generate jobs and tax revenue. Blackbird is doing some amazing work and recently raised a fund from super funds to play in the series A space. But more needs to be done. SOLUTION: mandate that 1% of superannuation funds need to be invested in venture capital specifically for Series A & B rounds. Australia has $2.02 trillion in supernannuation funds as of June 2015. Redirecting 1% of that is not going to hurt anyone, but it is going to make an extra $20 BILLION available to Australia's startup sector. Without affecting the government budget whatsoever. It would probably make more sense to phase this in over time - I don't think Australia could realistically deploy $20 billion in VC investment overnight - but having access to a major pool of capital like that would ensure that more Aussie startups stay in Australia, create jobs here, pay taxes here. And it would also create an "investor class" of previously successful Aussie founders who are able to invest in the next generation of Aussie entrepreneurs.

A study from the Kaufman Foundation revealed that 52.4% of the top US startups were founded by immigrants, creating more than 560,000 jobs and generating more than $63bn in sales.

As of today, obtaining an entrepreneur visa in Australia is extremely challenging for a young ambitious startup founder. Among the many conditions that have to be met there are need to have raised $1m in founding - already quite rare in this country, let alone for an immigrant - or to already generate $300,000 in revenue.
Tech centres such as London are flourishing also thanks to the diversity of talent within their communities. Australia does not have the strategic geographical position of London, or the sex appeal of Silicon Valley, so the option left to us to stay competitive in attracting the best talent is to have easy, clear, fast, favorable and encouraging policy in place to make sure that ambitious entrepreneurs consider Australia to start their business. Initial suggestions to start discussions could be: - lower the amount of investment required; - lower the amount of revenue generation required; - allow a minimum initial period (6 months) to kickstart the business pre-funding; - support in understanding the local tax and legal system; - targeted innovation programs (i.e. grants or tax breaks) specifically to attract talent from abroad. Surely all must be done in a way to avoid the possibility to abuse the system and enter Australia without solid business plans, but the battle for international talent is a critical one in the race to becoming an innovation centre. Let's discuss it at policyhack! Gio

Women make up less than 20% of startup founders in Australia. Strong levels of diversity in the types of founders participating in innovation - that being gender, culture, industry expertise, etc, etc, etc - will result in more diverse businesses, therefore greater breadth and depth in the startup ecosystem and in businesses of the future from Australia. SO how do we reduce barriers to entry for founders participating at low rates? One way to access more women overall, and more men in the 32-45 cohort, is to reduce the higher penalty for entrepreneurs/founders with children to participate in startups.
THE PROPOSAL: Founders in year one of operations can apply to access a 'startup package'. This isn't made up of handouts or grants, but tax relief at a household rather than individual level, taking into account that usually one partner is often working to 'keep the lights on' while the other is spending (the family's) savings to bootstrap the building of a business. Rather than this bootstrapping coming solely from a nest egg, savings, credit card or mortgage, certain components of this bootstrapping should be eligible to be paid from the working partner's pre-tax income in year one of the company. This aims to recognise the high costs of participation and that the family is effectively investing in future economic activity and allowing that to be paid before-tax. A key eligible cost is childcare - including long daycare and after school care. The proposed startup package is capped at the first year of operations or until the founder is taking a salary, whichever is shorter, to allow for the initial build phase of a startup, and can only be used once every five years per founder to avoid gaming.
WHY DOES THIS MAKE SENSE? The after-tax cost for parents with children under 5 yo to work on a startup full time is about $20k per year per child (two kids? $40k, three kids? $60k!! How does that kill your startup's runway?!?!) If this cost could be paid before-tax at a household level from the working partners income this would have a MASSIVE impact on the barriers for women with younger children (who have taken a natural break in their career and are incredibly well-placed in their career to found a business) to found a startup. At the moment, this is limited to parents who have a breadwinning partner who earns enough to pay for the family's cost-of-living, plus childcare, plus a full tax rate without taking into account they are effectively part-funding a not-yet-profit making new business, and investing on the future economic activity of Australia.
Other relevant benefits could be rolled into the 'startup package' target the first year of operations for startups to reduce barriers to startups, including for university students, people who have recently received redundancy payouts, etc.

The future of work is changing rapidly. This is a reality that governments, industries and communities are all faced with. To support the growth of Australia's tech ecosystem and to prepare Australians for 21st century jobs, we need a new approach. In this new Digital Age, a career in tech can bring about financial security and independence, therefore reducing long-term welfare dependancy.

Traditionally, jobs in tech have required a computer science degree. This is out of reach for many disadvantaged, unemployed individuals. But many jobs within the tech ecosystem no longer require a Bachelor's degree. Therefore, we should create an intensive, technical training program which prepares unemployed and/or underemployed Australians for in-demand tech jobs. The curriculum should focus on providing participants with the top job skills most-needed, according to key tech trends. Students should also acquire key professional skills and business skills required to help them land a job upon completion.
Wage subsidies could be offered to employers who provide graduates with a job for at least 12 months. This programme could initially be trialled in a single location, and then expanded based on results. Overall, the training programme could provide valuable opportunities for groups of people who would otherwise be at risk of long-term welfare dependancy. At the same time, it could grow our ecosystem within Australia and drive innovation across various industries.

People submitting ideas
Justin Warren Simon White Keith Marlow Glenn Gillen Timothy Holborn Adam James Alex Buchanan Steve Zanon Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin Miguel Carrasco Zoe Rose Alex Butterworth Greg Mullins Matt McNamara Sunny Goold Mark Glazebrook Tracey Murray Phil Robertson Sarah Mortellaro Glenn Phillips Garry Visontay Mark Pey Tarek Ansary Stuart  Wallace David Simons