Monday, 21 June 2021
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2021-2022; Consideration in Detail
Australia's recovery from COVID-19 is well underway and the 2021-22 budget builds on our recovery. This budget will continue to create jobs, guarantee the essential services and build a more resilient and secure Australia. I will address this chamber on a number of important measures that has been led by the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. As the minister responsible for the National Office for Child Safety, I am proud the Morrison government is committed to protecting Australia's children and ensuring their safety and wellbeing in all settings. The budget committed an initial $146 million over four years for the first phase of the National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse. The measures lay the foundation for the landmark national strategy, which the Commonwealth is working with the states and territories to finalise for its full release in September 2021. The national strategy will be a 10-yea, whole-of-nation framework to establish a coordinated and consistent approach to preventing and responding to child sexual abuse. It was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and will itself implement numerous other recommendations.
The national strategy will focus on improving support services for victims and survivors, reducing shame and stigma to support help seeking, holding perpetrators to account and preventing first-time recurrent offending; raising awareness across all layers of society; and building the evidence base, including through data collection and linkage. This package includes $59.9 million worth of initiatives for the Australian Federal Police to combat child sexual abuse, including frontline operations activities; $24 million to strengthen capacity across acute perpetrators of child sexual abuse; $16.8 million for the Attorney-General's Department to enhance legal assistance concerning child sexual abuse; $13.9 million to Home Affairs to better equip intelligence, research and border protection agencies to disrupt the cash flow behind child sexual abuse, disrupt live-stream child sexual abuse and intercept material and offenders at the border, and enhance offender identification; $10.9 million for the National Indigenous Australians Agency to codesign place-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing approaches to support a victim survivors.
Building on last year's budget, the government announced a number of regulatory reforms to ensure that essential safeguards are maintained while making it easier to do business. The government is investing more than $120 million to further support deregulation, which will reduce compliance costs by an average of $430 million annually. This will be achieved by streamlining reporting under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme, benefiting more than 900 companies, reporting on 7,500 facilities every year and saving businesses $11.3 million annually; improving electronic monitoring systems to support approximately 1,220 commercial fishing operators to meet regulatory and data provision requirements; improving the technology neutrality of Treasury portfolio legislation; enabling easier communications between businesses, individuals and regulators; implementing automatic mutual recognition, resulting in savings to 124,000 Australians from having to obtain multiple occupational licenses; reducing the reporting requirements for around 1,180 private education providers who deliver courses to international students; providing additional assistance to small businesses with regtech solutions to help them comply with modern awards; and investing in improvements and maintenance for the employment contract tool, which helps small businesses employ their first person.
The Morrison government has set a goal for Australia to be a world-leading digital economy by 2030. Every business is now a digital business. Through the 2021-22 budget, we are investing almost $1.2 billion in Australia's digital future, through the Digital Economy Strategy. Key initiatives in the budget include over $100 million to support digital skills for Australians, $124 million to build capability in artificial intelligence and $200 million to overhaul myGov and enhance government services. There's a $301.8 million investment in My Health Record; tax incentives to drive business investment, including our new 30 per cent digital games tax offset and changes to the way businesses can claim depreciation for intangible assets like patents and in-house software; and support for small businesses to go digital, including an expansion of digital advisory services and support to encourage businesses' uptake of e-invoicing.
On 5 May 2021 we established the National Recovery and Resilience Agency to support local communities in recovering from large-scale disasters and to undertake new initiatives to manage the impact of future events. Establishing the agency is one part of our response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. It incorporates the functions of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency. From 1 July 2021, the agency will also include the disaster recovery and risk reduction functions within the Department of Home Affairs and the Rural Financial Counselling Service from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
I thank the Deputy Speaker for the opportunity to set out some of the portfolio budget and provide insights into how it will benefit our communities and the economy and the national interest.