Wyatt Roy, tech sector's new go-to guy

Australia's tech sector has found new political champions, with 25-year-old Wyatt Roy leading the way.

If Malcolm Turnbull is the tech sector's political messiah, then 25-year-old Wyatt Roy is the whizzkid point of contact.

On Sunday, immediately after he was named assistant minister for innovation, Mr Roy rang up the founder of one of the country's largest startup bases to float policy ideas and ask for support.

"There were a few specific things we spoke about, specifically around what is innovation and having a clear vision, followed up with engaging community members," BlueChilli founder and chief executive Sebastien Eckersley Maslin told AAP.

"He's got a lot of ideas and he's definitely looking at support from the ecosystem... and how government can engage with the private sector."

Mr Roy's elevation to the ministry has reinforced the tech and entrepreneurial scene's hopes that the sector is about to embark on a golden era.

Next to the prime minister, Mr Roy is arguably the most vocal political champion of Australia's startup businesses, the sector the prime minister has pointed to to drive the economy as the resource boom fades.

"We have to work more agilely, more innovatively; we have to be more nimble in the way we seize the enormous opportunities presented to us," Mr Turnbull said.

"Above all we must be more innovative."

Mr Roy jumped on the innovation bandwagon early, building contacts with local startups and immersing himself in tech hotspots overseas.

"He's scoured the globe looking for best practice policies- he's been over to Israel, Boston, Silicon Valley and New York- and he's really understanding the world's best policies and practices for ecosystem growth, and he brings them back," StartupAUS head Peter Bradd told AAP.

"We talk to him regularly. He's a great friend to the startups ecosystem."

Many in the industry see him as helping anchor the expanded Industry, innovation and science portfolio under Christopher Pyne, the former education minister.

Pyne's has quickly adopted the Turnbull government's unflinching approach to the new economy "disruptors".

"With a sweeping tide of new disruptive technologies that will entirely transform the way we live and the way we work, Australian industry must continue to lead the world in research and innovation," he said in his opening remarks as the innovation minister.

Many also pointed to his education experience as handy background, as the industry says its underskilled workforce as one of its greatest challenges.

However other founders have found the appointment dismaying.

"Christopher Pyne may be a talented politician but his CV does not hint at the relevant experience he possesses for this role. I look forward to being proven wrong," DriveMyCar start-up CEO Chris Noone said.

But industry insiders, like Mr Bradd have high hopes the assembled team, which includes the digitally-savvy Mitch Fifield in the Communications and newly-formed "Digital Government" roles, will maximise the potential of the tech industry.

A policy wishlist ranges from immediate actions like tax incentives to grow the number of startup investors to relaxed work visas to recruit skilled, innovation-minded staff.

These things seem within grasp now that the "visionary" Turnbull is leader, said Mr Bradd.

"Everything that we seem to be asking for is finally coming true," he said.

Source AAP

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