In the 12 months since the Australian Government first launched the Digital Economy Strategy in Budget 2021-22, Australians have continued to enthusiastically embrace digital technologies. Amidst the challenges and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased digital uptake has supported businesses to continue to operate and grow and helped Australians stay connected.
The Strategy sets an ambitious vision for a digital Australia and charts the actions we are taking towards Australia being a top 10 digital economy and society by 2030.
This vision means improved choice for consumers by having the right settings to help Australians make better informed decisions. It means more agile businesses that can adapt to changing consumer needs and thrive in response to advances in technology. A leading digital economy drives the skills, new products and creativity needed to boost innovation and create new job opportunities. And it will help ensure our use of technology is safe, secure and trusted.
Australia’s prosperity and security depends upon us embracing these opportunities and having the flexibility to respond as the world around us changes. Accordingly, the Strategy is a living document, designed to respond to emerging developments in digital technology, our economy and society.
When I launched the first iteration of the Strategy last year, it included a landmark investment of $1.2 billion. Over the past year we have provided a further $347 million in funding to bolster the Government’s digital economy investment. We are building on these investments in 2022, with a further $1.1 billion to support the development of Australia’s leading digital economy.
We’re making good progress and this update details key achievements over the past 12 months. These include the launch of the National Artificial Intelligence Centre with CSIRO’s Data61 as part of our AI Action Plan; the expansion of the world-leading Consumer Data Right across the economy; the release of the Digital Readiness Assessment Tool to support small business digitalisation; and the successful uptake of the Skill Finder initiative.
This update also outlines new measures taken since the Strategy’s launch that continue momentum towards achieving our 2030 vision. These new measures include funding to shape global critical technology standards; support for more women to take on digitally skilled roles as part of a mid-career transition; and further building our capabilities in critical and emerging technologies, including quantum computing.
In this fast-paced and ever-changing environment there is more to do. We are continuing to focus on establishing strong foundations, building capability in emerging technologies and lifting our ambition through digital growth priorities such as digital small and medium enterprises, modern industry sectors, dynamic and emerging tech sector and digital government services. It has been terrific to see industry embrace and wholeheartedly endorse this Strategy by working alongside Government to achieve these goals together. We won’t reach our goals alone and I thank the private sector for their ongoing engagement. I look forward to continuing our work together to progress the Strategy and unlock its benefits for all Australians as we track towards achieving our 2030 vision.