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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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Create a pool of tide-over projects for contract workers in innovative technology industries to bring innovation into untouched areas.

Short term contracts are a fact of life in technology, and at many stages of life, the trade off between high pay and low stability is ideal. For other life stages - such as life with a young family - they're too risky. Many people, especially women, opt out of work in innovative industries when they hit these life changes, reducing the pool of both talent and experience that's available to technological innovation.
Meanwhile, areas of public life that have little or no contact with design thinking or software methodology remain untouched, or only touched by well-intentioned but all too infrequent volunteer work in the form of hackathons (yes, like this one) or people offering their services as volunteers without supporting infrastructure to help them. Tide-over projects could keep skilled workers in the software industry without risking lost income, while also building projects useful to the public good that don't have direct financial incentives that would attract businesses to build them. Some that spring to mind - auditing website accessibility (for people with disabilities) for local schools, building a dietary requirements app for use in nursing homes for people with dementia who can't communicate their allergies, or making a web app for finding out what qualifications boards a complementary therapist either is or should be registered with. This idea is partially inspired by my own experiences volunteering to organise an audit of poor informational signage at my local hospital. The staff there were desperate to improve the situation, but didn't have the time or skills to do the job - and why would they? They didn't have a budget to hire someone to do the job, either, and even if they had they wouldn't have known who to call. This situation happens all the time - it's a gap that can be filled, and it can be filled in a way that keeps the rest of the technological innovation industry thriving as well.

"founders gonna found" - but not necessarily in Australia. The focus of policy needs to be on encouraging founders to choose to start their business here in Australia.

It is founders who decide where to start their company, when to raise money and from whom, and then how aggressively to scale/expand (read: employ people).
In deciding where to do my third startup, I looked for any excuse to do it here. Just give me a reason, please!! But try as we might, we couldn't justify it:- [People] We looked for cities where there's lots of good people that don't cost the earth, where quality of life is high, and cost of living is OK. On this front the problem with Sydney/Melbourne is that the cost of living is high, and there is limited talent (compared to Europe or California etc). Not sure what we can do about house prices, but maybe we can encourage more offshore talent to move here? [Capital] My perception (rightly or wrongly) is that a founder is better off getting money in California or London, especially if they need the money! [Customers] Proximity to customers - not so much of a concern for us. For many IT businesses, you can serve customers anywhere. But for us, with enterprise customers, the more that are on your doorstep, the merrier. Still, Melbourne or Sydney would be fine as a starting point. [Regulatory environment - CGT] CGT in Australia is much higher than UK (with their entrepreneur's relief). So if you make a successful exit, the government is going to take more, and much more than is reasonable. This is a killer. Government does not share the risk, but they expect a significant slice of the return. CGT is a major issue for founders, employees with a share in the business, and investors. [Regulatory environment - Income tax] And before exit, company income tax is a crippling 30%. Come on! The talk of lowering it a few per cent isn't interesting. Look at Ireland etc. That's where Australia needs to be. Australian tech businesses bring in much needed export income. Maybe these dollars could be taxed less? Were it not for CGT, we might have decided to run our business from here, with either US or AU funding. But that was the straw which meant North American and European cities outcompeted Sydney and Melbourne. You can be a high tax regime, coz somewhere has to be. You can be a place with limited talent, coz somewhere has to be. And you can be a place where its hard to raise money. But you shouldn't be all three!

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China is Australia's largest trading partner, eclipsing our second and third largest trading partners, the US and Japan combined. China is rapidly shifting its global role from imitator to innovator and has filed the most domestic patent applications of any country since 2011. China is fast becoming a leading investor in innovation, with leading research universities, modern science and technology parks, and innovative start-ups. Chinese companies, which are investing more and more in R&D, are demonstrating a growing concern for IP rights. In China there are 17 million designers, 15 thousand design organisations, 50 thousand consumer products designed per year with a 10% success rate and 5 million start-ups.

It would be a grave error of the Australian innovation community to underestimate the impact of this swift rise and its scale when other nations sure aren't doing so.
The opportunity for Australia is awesome! We have a tremendous opportunity to develop the Australian innovation ecosystem by getting our engagement with China right but we currently lack the human capital in Australia with the skills, networks and confidence to work collaboratively with China. We have too few China-skilled young innovators and emerging leaders coming through the talent pipeline to fully populate this ecosystem. To develop any ecosystem, one must have a sense of the future conditions it will take place within. China will soon be the world’s largest economy and a leader in innovation and innovation investment. Any discussion of the future of Australia's innovation ecosystem, the policies which underpin it and how we develop entrepreneurs and innovators of the future must involve active mobilisation of the China opportunity.

Let's launch a national home energy retrofit campaign to help households across Australia reduce their energy bills.

Most people aren't aware that energy efficiency is typically one of the most lucrative investment opportunities available to households, easily out-performing both property and shares by providing higher returns and lower risks. However households largely under-invest in energy efficiency owing to a lack of information, finance, and other barriers.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation in partnership with the major banks currently fund a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across Australia. However so far they've struggled to invest in residential energy efficiency projects, despite representing one of the largest and highest return clean energy investments in Australia. The under-financing of residential energy efficiency arises from two key challenges. Firstly, although residential energy efficiency represents a very large pool of potential investment, each project is individually very small, making transaction costs a challenge. Secondly, the costs of auditing homes to identify and estimate the energy savings has historically been an obstacle. Our small startup (www.getecologic.com) recently developed a free app and cloud-based simulation platform capable of rapidly auditing how energy is used around the home and providing individually tailored business cases for home energy efficiency and solar retrofits. We have also developed an electronic marketplace to connect households to energy efficiency and solar providers, financial institutions, and incentive programs, enabling bulk purchasing and financing of energy efficiency and solar PV projects. With modest policy support our small startup and other clean technology businesses could help drive a step change in the uptake of energy efficiency and solar PV, and reduce energy bills across Australia.

People submitting ideas
Tarek Ansary Alan Jones Rod Camm Delia Scales Colin Kinner Karen  Dado Andrew Macpherson Margaret Quixley Paul Niederer David Jordan Alex Buchanan Nick Abrahams Margaret OBrien Johan Karlsson Tim Kastelle Robert Mitchell Evan Shellshear Saskia Kelly Lachie Vogt Annie Beaulieu Timothy Holborn Ahmed Salama A sh Maggie Hardy Lorraine Chiroiu