Transformation is not merely a national one but a global one.
Australia’s peak industry representative body for innovation technology, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), welcomed the Federal Government’s Budget as a good start to position Australia as a leading digital economy by 2030.
The Federal Government’s A$1.2 billion investment is about securing Australia’s economic recovery in a world of continuing uncertainty. The budget is focused on improving systems across artificial intelligence (AI), health, digital skills, cyber security and digital payments for SMBs.
The federal funding allocates A$124.1 million to the nation’s capability in AI aiming to ensure Australia becomes a global leader in AI research and commercialisation. While the budget allocation falls short of the A$250 million required to fully fund the National AI strategy, the AIIA recognises that this investment is a significant improvement of previous funding.
Additionally, A$500 million will be allocated to give consumers greater access to their health and government data via a makeover to the MyGov website and the My Health Record service. A further A$100 million has been committed to the development of digital skills in the workforce, including the creation of cadetships.
However, the ICT sector will continue to advocate for greater investment to achieve a globally competitive industry, said Ron Gauci CEO at AIIA.
“We applaud the Federal Government’s recognition that this transformation is not merely a national one but a global one that is happening. The AIIA has been calling out our need to keep pace with the global trend,” he said. “The investment of A$1.2 billion is recognition of the fact that the ICT sector is at the heart of every industry and the Federal Government must continue to invest in this sector to secure our economic independence for years to come.”
Gauci noted that Australia had a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to reshape the technology at the core of the Australian health system. He said now was the time to create lasting structural change as a result of setting up a strong and efficient national ICT health backbone and the investment of A$500 million will go some way to bringing this to reality. The AIIA remains committed to working with the Federal Government in its COVID-19 vaccination roll out delivering integration across platforms.
“The AIIA recognises the Federal Government’s $100 million allocation towards the development of digital skills in the workforce, including the creation of cadetships. We represent the technology employers of Australia so we look forward to working with the Government to deliver its Digital Cadetship policy to ensure that people can embark on their digital careers and build skills and capability,” said Gauci.