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Loss Of Wyatt Roy ‘Major Blow’ To Libs’ Start-Up Push

Loss Of Wyatt Roy ‘Major Blow’ To Libs’ Start-Up Push

Among the problems facing Malcolm Turnbull should he retain government – and the Coalition leadership – could be finding a new innovation and start-up encouragement minister to replace Queenslander Wyatt Roy, pictured, who appears likely to have lost his seat in Saturday’s election.

The 26-year-old Roy, a National Party member who was first elected in 2010 at the age of 20, was one of the minor stars of the first Turnbull ministry, showing great enthusiasm for the job, along with a good grasp of the growing digital age – probably more so than his immediate boss, Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Christopher Pyne.

Jonathan Barouch, founder and CEO of Sydney-based start-up Local Measure has described the Coalition’s loss of Roy, whose title was Assistant Minister for Innovation, as a definite “knock” for government and industry.

Alex McCauley, CEO of industry body Start-up Aus, said the potential loss of Roy is “unfortunate”. He said: “Wyatt has made an enormous contribution to the conversation and the bipartisan policy framework around start-ups in Australia. We are much further forward in this country because of his efforts and advocacy.”

One possible replacement might be Paul Fletcher, a former Optus executive, who was parliamentary secretary to Malcolm Turnbull – then Communications Minister – from 2013 to 2015, and is now Major Projects Minister. But he is a rather dour figure, showing little of Roy’s enthusiasm for the electronic age.

If, on the other hand, Labor should win government, Jason Clare, currently shadow comms minister, is likely to be tasked with returning the National Broadband Network to a largely fibre-to-the-premises affair. That should see some lively debates. There’s been no mention at this stage of a Labor start-ups minister.

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