Thursday, 13 May 2021
Questions without Notice
Economy: Digital Economy Strategy
My question is to the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy, Senator Hume. How is the Morrison government securing Australia's recovery by implementing policies to enable Australia to become a leading digital economy and society?
I'd like to thank Senator Bragg for his question and his enduring interest in Australia's digital economy and progress. Digital technologies play such an important role in our daily lives, but perhaps no more so than in the last 18 months. They have helped businesses to stay afloat and people to interact and transact in new and different ways, and they've also enabled people to get access to life-saving information and services. The Morrison government knows that getting the policy settings right, now, will ensure that Australia's prosperity continues over the next decade and beyond.
That's why I was incredibly proud to stand with the Prime Minister last week and announce the $1.2 billion Digital Economy Strategy. This strategy is a living plan, designed to ensure that we have the right infrastructure, skills, settings and services in place. It outlines our digital growth priorities that will make it clear what we need to do to achieve that ambition. They include things like lifting our digital capability and adoption across small and medium businesses to support new ways to work and grow, increase profitability and, of course, save time—for example, through a $15.3 million enhancement to the uptake of e-invoicing, to save time and money for businesses—and supporting globally-competitive export sectors operating at the digital frontier, including manufacturing, mining, agriculture and construction, and, of course, building the emerging technology capability and accelerating the growth of tech startups such as fintechs, regtechs and digital games, to drive an uplift in the rest of the economy.
This broad package has been received extraordinarily well. FinTech Australia CEO Rebecca Schot-Guppy said the announcement was welcome news for the entire technology and startup ecosystem. The BCA said that the Digital Economy Strategy was a win-win, and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association said that the games tax offset, a key part of that strategy, was one of the most significant to be implemented anywhere in the world.
The Morrison government understands the importance of digital technology to Australia's economic recovery, and that's why we have announced this $1.2 billion package to ensure that we have the right infrastructure, skills, services and settings in place to assure Australia's ongoing prosperity. For example, we're investing $124 million in AI initiatives to grow the next generation of AI experts and help small and medium enterprises leverage technology to boost productivity. We're investing $12.7 million in the expansion of the hugely successful and oversubscribed ASBAS program to ensure that 1,700 businesses get access to services that will help them grow and leverage digital technologies. These are just a handful of the initiatives put into place to ensure opportunity, growth and jobs for all Australians now and into the future.
This is a matter very close to my heart. Empowering individuals and businesses to have better control and gain benefit from their own data that's collected by industry is an important part of the Morrison government's $1.2 billion Digital Economy Strategy. One hundred and eleven million dollars will help accelerate the economy-wide rollout of the consumer data right, which will provide enormous opportunities for regtech and fintech startups to drive competition, building new products and services to help consumers manage and understand their data and get better value from product and service providers such as telcos, banks and energy companies, to save time and save money. Importantly, the consumer data right is delivered in partnership with industry and has privacy settings embedded into its design to ensure it's a safe and secure system.