Technology, particularly digital technology, has become an integral part of the business ecosystem in the rapidly changing global market. With the rising need for infrastructural support, Australia is fighting to secure its future place by supporting digitization. Over the course of 2020, Australia’s gaming industry has thrived across mobile gaming, consoles, and e-sports.
Digitizing the Economy Down Under
Australia’s government is planning to set the pace by leading other departments and companies in providing digital services. The government has budgeted AU$1.2b to improve its AI and cybersecurity, which are the major concerns.
The digitization strategy also includes a change in policies set to define Australia’s 2030 technological vision.
From the budget, AU$124 million is allocated to improve Artificial intelligence. AU$50 million of this money will be used to establish a National AI Centre.
However, Ron Gauci, the Australian Information Industry Association(AIIA) CEO, thinks the government should boost the investment to AU$250 million to catch up with other major economies.
Improving Government Services
To improve online social services, the government has spared AU$200m and AU$301m of the budget to serve the myGov portal and improve the My Health Record service.
As part of its cybersecurity improvement efforts, the government has invested AU$26.2 to fund the development of a sensitive image control system. AU$3m has been allocated to a four-year model program that will oversee software testing that probes nonconsensually shared intimate photos. When the project is officially handed to the eSafety department, it will help track target images reported by citizens, among whom children and women are the most affected. The system will also facilitate easy removal of the images.
Improving Cyber Security
Cybersecurity concerns are ever-increasing despite the government’s restrictive measures on major application providers. But the government has invested about AU$33.5 in four years of improving mobile network coverage and improving their security. The efforts to secure Australian networks are part of the government’s plan to maintain security as the economy transforms.
Paul Glass, Nexion Networks CEO, suggests that the government also controls the type of technology consumers adopt rather than focusing all its efforts on application providers. Many Australians trust major applications to maintain high security just because they are widely used.
The government should also welcome necessary changes, such as adopting a cabinet role-specific to the cybersecurity sector, to improve organization for proper implementation of projects.
The government has also allocated AU$12.7m to stretch its advisory services for SMBs entering the digital space. Improving this sector will increase technological adoption creating a competitive point that shall leave other businesses with no choice but to join.
It also plans to improve payments by allocating AU$15.3 to promote virtual invoices and digital opportunities in Australia. Through e-invoices, businesses can process payments more efficiently, increasing their operating capital, which will reflect in overall production.
Promoting Digital Skills
A technology-enabled economy can not run sustainably without a skilled workforce to service it. Therefore, the government has also implemented strategies to improve digital education among the youth, especially women.
For this matter, AU$100 has been allocated to support digital cadetship, among other learning programs. In combination with graduate scholarships and an enabling environment, this investment will establish a stable growth that shall attract investment by the private sector. It will also enable people to continue with digital courses, increasing the skilled labor force for the country’s technological shift.
AU $42.4 million will help equip women with scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical skills. The government is also fueling the National Careers Institute Partnership Grants initiative to increase career opportunities, especially for women. By covering the gender gap in opportunities within the digital market, the government will create more jobs and increase circulating money by about AU$1.8 billion.
Australia’s aged-care is also set to acquire an additional AU$17.7bn federal budget, which will promote digitization of healthcare. As the rest of the economy digitizes, the healthcare sector will naturally adopt enabling technologies such as telecare, virtual invoicing, and teleworking, which will impact collaborations.
Currently, most aged-cares use traditional methods, for example, in record keeping. Therefore, they will also have to advance their management systems and train skills for using the advanced systems.
To facilitate continuous innovation in the digital economy, the government is devising a way to promote research and development in companies. AU$206m is set to fund a patent box program that will relieve Australian innovators from some taxes and promote their inventions.
Nonetheless, biotechnological and medical technology brands are the first beneficiaries, although the scheme will also extend to other IT areas. Interim loss carry-back and full short-term financing are also extended for an additional year.
Besides impacting businesses whose market was disrupted by the pandemic, these reliefs will also increase job opportunities, as companies can fund projects efficiently.
This Australian government has proven to have a different perspective from most previous ones, having a long-term vision for its nation. However, if the infrastructure investments are to make any meaningful change, the government must also consider adopting emerging technologies such as high-speed internet connections.
Nonetheless, infrastructure investment is the best way to invest public funds as it serves to increase production. Therefore, a proper implementation should be seen through rather than building castles in the air.