The Australian government is investing almost $1.2 billion AUD (£670 million) in its digital future as part of its strategy to transform the country into a modern and leading digital economy by 2030.
The investment, through its Digital Economy Strategy, includes over $100 million to support digital skills, including a pilot programme for work-based digital cadetships that allow workers to build digital skills, investments in the cyber workforce, and scholarships for emerging technology graduates.
The government is also launching a National Artificial Intelligence Centre through a $124.1 million investment, which will be supported by a network of AI and Digital Capability Centres to drive adoption of AI across the economy.
“This transformation is not merely a national one that needs to happen – it’s a global one that is happening,” said prime minister Scott Morrison. “We must keep our foot on the digital accelerator to secure our economic recovery from COVID-19.”
It also plans to overhaul myGov, a portal citizens can use to access online government services, with a $200 million investment. On top of this, there's a $301.8 million investment into My Health Record, the government’s digital health record system, with a planned expansion of its digital identity system.
The government is also looking to set the standards for the next generation of data management, with a $111.3 million investment to accelerate the rollout of the Consumer Data Right in banking, energy, and telecommunications.
$35.7 million will be spent to support emerging aviation technologies like drones, whereas over $50 million will be used to enhance cyber security in government, data centres, and future telecommunication networks.
The new investment amounts to a spend of roughly 0.06% of Australia’s $2 trillion economy, and will bring spending on the digital economy up to around $2 billion over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 budgets.
This is on top of the $1.67 billion Cyber Security Strategy announced last year, $1 billion for JobTrainer, a scheme that reskills workers who have lost jobs in the pandemic, and a $4.5 billion investment in NBN upgrades, a publicly owned corporation aiming to upgrade the country’s broadband network.
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Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.