Federal government failing to encourage innovation, says Dyson vacuum inventor

Inventor Sir James Dyson has criticised Australia’s tax laws, saying that they don’t encourage entrepreneurs.

Dyson, who spoke in Sydney on a promo tour for the new Airblade Tap last week, said that other countries did a better job of encouraging innovation through tax breaks for technology start-ups.

“You have very inventive people and very good universities but I think the problem is the government is not supporting it enough,” The Australian Financial Review quotes him as saying.

“If they think 45 per cent tax relief for start-ups in Australia is going to help – it won’t, it’s too small. We’re getting more than double that in Britain, the French government gives more than that. It just isn’t enough.”

Dyson also said that funding for innovation was also ineffective.

“Creating a fund isn’t going to do it because people will have to apply to the fund and then some civil servant will make a decision about who gets the funds. Usually I’ts the wrong decision because they’re not equipped to make the right decision,” said Dyson.

“You should back people who have ideas and want to do them and the way you do it is through the tax system.”
Separately, Dyson called the recently-announced cuts to R&D tax concessions for companies with revenues of $20 billion or more, saying “it's just crazy to steal or take money from big companies."

The Airblade Tap was introduced earlier this month, and features a built-in air dryer, which automatically dries the user’s hands by 450 mile per hour blasts of air. An example of the technology can be seen here.

The Australian reports that the product, which held its Australian launch in Sydney on February 19, will be available for $1590 in July. It was the result of three years’ research and development by 125 engineers and 3,300-plus prototypes.

Dyson’s best-known invention is his eponymous vacuum cleaner range, seen at this link.