Changes to bankruptcy laws aim to make it easier for entrepreneurs who fail to start again.

Bill Ferris, the veteran venture capitalist appointed to spearhead the government's innovation agenda, has previously commented that “Australia suffers from an outdated fear of failure mentality that impedes risk-taking”.

The Government has addressed this in the innovation statement yesterday, announcing changes to bankruptcy laws that will make it easier for entrepreneurs who fail to start again. The statement argues that current insolvency laws in Australia “put too much focus on penalising and stigmatising business failure". The changes proposed in the innovation statement will reduce the period before a bankrupt can restart a business from three years to one year; it goes on to introduce the concept of a "safe harbour" for directors from personal liability for insolvent trading in circumstances where they have appointed professional restructuring advisers.

It remains to be seen if these measures, combined with the other initiatives announced, will encourage the tolerance for risk needed for entrepreneurialism to flourish in Australia.

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