TCA highlights innovation and tech workforce as critical to Australian economy

BUDGET REACTION – The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) has welcomed Federal Budget initiatives designed to boost investment in innovative industries, improve the tech workforce pipeline and accelerate digital transformation of government. However, the TCA said there was “still more to do to lift Australia’s productivity growth”.

“Australia’s tech sector is vital to the future of our economy and job creation, which is why we’re pleased to see some important new investments announced in this Budget,” TCA acting CEO Ryan Black said.

“The Federal Government has injected funding into some major priorities for the tech sector, including AI, migration, digital ID and tech workforce diversity, while also making some substantial investments in future high-tech industries.

“We welcome measures to invest in safe and responsible AI, while continuing to encourage the government to develop a comprehensive plan to drive AI development and adoption across the economy,” Mr Black said.

“Importantly, this year’s Budget builds on existing flagship initiatives like the National Reconstruction Fund and Industry Growth Program, through which we hope to see funding roll out to the tech sector as soon as possible this year.”
The Tech Council has been a strong advocate of the Federal Government’s migration strategy and singled out investment in migration reform, as well as other workforce initiatives such as improving diversity in STEM, as major priorities in its pre-Budget submission this year.
“Australian tech businesses continue to face challenges with attracting the best and brightest talent to our shores due to an outdated, slow and unresponsive migration system,” Mr Black said.
“The government’s migration reforms, including the announcement of a refreshed National Innovation Visa as part of the permanent migration programwill give tech companies more ability to scale, innovate and compete on the global stage.
“The additional $38.2 million to improve diversity in STEM is a meaningful investment in building a more diverse and inclusive tech workforce,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the government on the design and implementation of a digital apprenticeships model, which will open pathways for more Australians into the tech sector.”
The Federal Budget also includes some major new investments to support innovation and high-tech industries through the Made in Australia initiative and other programs.
“We agree there’s an important role for government in driving more co-investment into innovation and advanced industries where Australia has clear strengths,” Mr Black said.

“This is about investing in the future of our economy and our security, while ensuring we continue to create more high-skilled, high-paid jobs.

“Private investment will continue to do much of the heavy lifting here, which is why we’re pleased to see the Government prioritise FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) reforms and a commitment to develop a ‘single front door’ to attract and facilitate major investment proposals in Australia.
“Quantum (computing) is an area where we have huge potential to create a multibillion-dollar industry and thousands of jobs. Following the significant investment in this Budget, we urge the government to move quickly to inject more direct funding in Australia’s quantum businesses and research organisations to take advantage of our world-leading quantum capabilities.”
The Budget includes significant commitments to accelerate the digital transformation of government, including through digital ID and myGov enhancements.   
“Australia has made significant progress on digital transformation, but it’s important that government service delivery keeps pace with growing consumer expectations,” Mr Black said. 
“Digital ID and digital credentials are crucial for enhancing privacy, security, productivity and customer experience.
“More funding for myGov is also important to ensure a world-class and inclusive experience for all Australians and reflect its status as critical national infrastructure.”
The Tech Council also supports the additional funding provided in the Budget for the Department of Defence’s export controls function, which will help ensure new reforms are implemented as efficiently as possible for industry.
“We will continue to review the details of the Budget and engage with our members on the announcements from the government to understand the full implications for the tech sector,” Mr Black said.


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