The federal government has allocated $1.2 billion to building Australia’s digital future through the Digital Economy Strategy.
The move has been widely welcomed.
David Fairfull, CEO and co-founder of AI-driven marketing plagtform Metigy, believes a national digital transformation in Australia is long overdue.
"Building and designing homegrown technology is critical - we are creators, developers, entrepreneurs," he says.
"Digitisation has a role to play in our everyday work and we must see this technology trickle down to the SMEs that account for 98% of businesses in Australia.
"We should be cautiously optimistic about this latest commitment by the government to the digital economy and the AI sector."
The digital strategy touches many parts of the federal budget:
Enhancing Artificial Intelligence (AI) capability:
• $53.8 million over four years from 2021-22 to create a National AI Centre and four AI and Digital Capability Centres to drive and support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to adopt and use transformative artificial intelligence technologies
• $33.7 million over four years from 2021-22 to provide grants to businesses to work with the government to develop AI-based solutions to solve national challenges
• $24.7 million over six years from 2021-22 to establish the Next Generation AI Graduates Program to attract and train AI specialists through national scholarships
• $12 million over five years from 2021-22 to deliver co-funded grants to support community and business driven projects that build AI capabilities in regional areas
• $32.6 million over two years from 2021-22 to establish the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships program to support the use of emerging aviation technologies, benefitting regional economies and communities
• $1.6 million over two years from 2021-22 to establish the New Drone Rule Management System to support the automated management of Commonwealth and state drone regulations
• $1.5 million in 2021-22 to support the development of the National Drone Detection Network to manage drone security risks and support future automated regulatory enforcement. Investment incentives:
• $18.8 million over four years from 2021-22 for a Digital Games Tax Offset to provide a 30 per cent refundable tax offset for qualifying Australian digital games expenditure ongoing from 1 July 2022, with the criteria and definition of qualifying expenditure to be determined through industry consultation
• changes to the way businesses can claim depreciation of intangible assets like intellectual property and in-house software
Unlocking the value of data:
• $111.3 million over two years from 2021-22 (including $35 million in capital funding) to continue implementation of the Consumer Data Right in the banking sector and to accelerate its rollout to other parts of the economy including the energy and telecommunications sectors
• $40.2 million over four years from 2021-22 (and $6.3 million per year ongoing) to enhance the Australian Government's location based data infrastructure to create a secure, dynamic and three-dimensional Digital Atlas of Australia's geography, to support business investment, environmental management and natural disaster responses
• $16.5 million over four years from 2021-22 (and $0.2 million per year ongoing) to identify Australian Government data assets and establish a searchable data catalogue
• Developing an Australian Data Strategy 2021-2025 in partnership with state and territory governments, and in consultation with the private and not-for-profit sectors, with costs to be met from within the existing resources of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Digital infrastructure and skills:
• $43.8 million over three years from 2021-22 to expand the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund. The Fund invests in projects to improve the quality and quantity of cyber security professionals in Australia and the additional funding will be provided to further secure and build capability across national priority sectors identified in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy
• $22.6 million over six years from 2021-22 to establish the Next Generation Emerging Technologies Graduates Program to provide up to 234 scholarships in emerging technologies areas
• $16.4 million over three years from 2021-22 to establish a Peri-Urban Mobile Program to improve mobile phone reception in peri-urban fringe areas that are prone to bushfire
• $10.7 million over three years from 2021-22 to trial up to four industry-led Digital Skills Cadetship pilots to develop new and innovative pathways to increase the number of Australians with high level digital skills
• $7.7 million over four years from 2021-22 for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to continue and extend the Measuring Broadband Australia program, which will be extended to cover fixed wireless broadband services, to assist consumers to make informed choices about broadband services with costs to be recovered through an increase in the Annual Carrier Licence Charge between 2022-23 and 2025-26
• $421.6 million over two years from 2021-22 (and $38.7 million in capital funding) to continue the My Health Record system and funding for the Australian Digital Health Agency, including for the Intergovernmental Agreement on National Digital Health
• $200.1 million over two years from 2021-22 (including $54.0 million in capital funding) to develop and transition government services to a new, enhanced myGov platform, providing a central place for Australians to find information and services online
• $10 million in 2021-22 for the Digital Transformation Agency to support the delivery of the Government's Digital transformation priorities
• $3.2 million in 2021-22 to extend the Digital Technology Taskforce until 30 June 2022 to support implementation of the Digital Economy Strategy.
Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) digitalisation:
• $15.3 million over three years from 2021-22 to promote and accelerate the adoption of e-invoicing by businesses and across all levels of government
• $12.7 million in 2021-22 to expand the Australian Small Business Advisory Service Digital Solutions program reach to up to 17,000 small businesses
• $31.7 million over four years from 2021-22 to enhance the security of Australia's mobile networks and accelerate the commercialisation of sovereign network and data security solutions
• $18.8 million in 2021-22 to pilot centralised delivery of cyber capabilities and services for government agencies through Whole-of-Government cyber hubs with costs to be partially met from with the existing resources of the Department of Defence, Australian Signals Directorate and Services Australia
• $2.8 million in 2021-22 to strengthen Australia's national system of identity settings, with costs to be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Home Affairs
• $1.8 million over two years from 2021-22 to deliver a National Data Security Action Plan co-designed with industry
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says a vibrant digital economy is key to Australia’s economic future.
“Our Digital Economy Strategy will allow Australian businesses to capitalise on the opportunities that digital technologies are creating,” he says.
“Greater digital adoption will improve our competitiveness and lift our productivity – driving job creation and higher wages.”
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