Wednesday, 1 December 2021
Questions without Notice
Research and Development
My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for Science and Technology. Will the minister please outline to the House how the Morrison government's investment in quantum technologies is securing our technology future and creating jobs as we come back from COVID-19?
Can I thank the member for Wentworth. He knows how important science is to our nation and also the importance of Australia's commercialisation of research and development. Advances in technology are reshaping everyday Australian lives. I know many in this House will remember the days when we operated a computer that was the size of a small bedroom or later, perhaps, the size of a suitcase, or a mobile phone the size of a house brick. Today we can hold these small devices in the palms of our hands. We have come remarkably far in technology advances, and Australia has played a key role on the global stage, inventing wi-fi and the black box—not forgetting the Victa mower, spray-on skin and the first ultrasound scanner. Many Australian inventions have helped to shape the world as we know it now.
Now we are on the verge of a new frontier, and I speak of quantum technology. I don't blame anyone in this House who would have trouble explaining it, but I have no doubt people will understand the significance of quantum technology.
Quantum will unlock smarter, more accurate and faster computers that can solve the most complex problems we encounter today that current computers cannot do. For Defence, it can enhance our intelligence capability, cracking those codes. It will also transform the way that doctors diagnose and treat cancers, and it will help our miners unlock resource deposits. Only this morning I met with our Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley. She is very famous because she and her team were able to develop an application called the LANDTEM sensor system. This system is used to unlock valuable deposits of minerals deep underground, and this has led to mineral discoveries worth more than $6 billion. That's why she's our Chief Scientist.
This is why our government has announced our Blueprint for Critical Technologies and the National Quantum Strategy. Our government will invest over $110 million to secure our quantum future. We estimate that our investments in this new and exciting field of technology advancement will create some 16,000 jobs by 2040 and contribute some $4 billion to our national economy. Our investment provides a much-needed confidence boost for our industry, which is why Google will invest $1 billion in Australia to unlock the growing potential of this technology. They're going to work closely with CSIRO to help to develop a research hub and to be at the forefront of quantum technology research.
The Morrison government is embracing this critically important technology. We're going to drive jobs. We're going to grow the economy. We're going to ensure that Australia is at the forefront of this amazing technology.