House debates

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Questions without Notice


2:06 pm

Photo of Katie AllenKatie Allen (Higgins, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's economic recovery plan, outlined in this year's budget, is setting up Australia to make the most of digital technology to increase jobs and grow businesses as we come out the other side of the COVID-19 recession?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Higgins for her question and I thank her for the expertise and the advice that she's provided to the government as a member of our team through one of the most difficult years in terms of the global pandemic, and I appreciate her input to that process very much. It has been a tough year for all Australians—one of the toughest on record for most of us in our living memory. But, amidst all those difficult challenges, we've looked for the opportunities as to how we can drive Australia's recovery, our recovery from the COVID-19 recession.

In the early phases of this pandemic, McKinsey found that digital adoption by consumers and businesses leapt ahead at a pace of five years in a period of just eight months. Nine out of 10 businesses took up technology in order to ensure their business continuity. Forty per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises established remote work capability, with many more going down that path.

Our Jobmaker Digital Business Plan, which formed part of the budget this year, which we indicated last November in our aspiration to ensure that Australia is one of the leading digital economies in the world by 2030—that plan, which was concluded in the economic recovery plan, which was this year's budget that was brought down by the Treasurer a few weeks ago, invested $800 million in four key projects. First of all are the infrastructure and skills needed to drive a digital economy, particularly the acceleration of 5G rollout and take-up; digital skills training through the JobTrainer program; and the Digital Skills Organisation Pilot to ensure that today's workers—in whatever their industries or roles—have those digital skills to move forward, supporting our investment in digital infrastructure for communications.

Small and medium-sized enterprise support and capability is specifically addressed, with training for directors and readiness assessment tools to assist small businesses become digital. There are business partnerships between large businesses and small businesses to ensure they're on the same page and able to use this technology. There are fit-for-purpose regulations. The consumer data right has been hailed by Rob Sims, the Chair of the ACCC, as an economic reform as significant today as floating the dollar. Doing business digitally with government will ensure that we're paying people on time. There is e-invoicing and the digital identity framework. This is revolutionising how businesses deal with government. This is all part of our digital business strategy for the economic recovery, and it's all on the basis of trust and security, with cybersecurity investments of $1.67 billion. That's the plan. (Time expired)