The Australian government is inviting input from interested stakeholders on the development of a strategy to ensure Australia is a leading digital economy and society by 2030. In November 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison established the Digital Technology Taskforce, which continues to engage with stakeholders to inform the next stage of Australia’s digital future. The Taskforce has identified five themes to inform Australia’s Digital Strategy.
- Moving more businesses to the digital frontier: The government is encouraging Australian businesses to adopt digital technologies. It is focused on SMEs and recently announced AUD 24.7 million to help small business operators use technology to improve their processes through the JobMaker Digital Business Plan. It is encouraging whole-of-business digital integration, such as digital identity, single touch payroll, e-invoicing, among others. Adoption of technologies will improve productivity and provide businesses with opportunities to enter new markets or scale-up operations rapidly. The government is seeking inputs regarding data, safety and security issues concerning businesses.
- A digitally capable and inclusive Australia: The government recognizes that digital technologies are changing social and professional interactions. It aims to ensure all Australians are able to afford, access and benefit from digital technology. To that end, state-owned NBN Co is investing AUD 4.5 billion to upgrade its network for enhanced broadband speeds. The government believes that a digitally capable and inclusive Australia will enhance workforce participation, community engagement and access to social assistance. It seeks inputs to enhance digital ability, accessibility and affordability across Australia.
- Building digital trust: The government recognizes that Australia’s digital future requires a strong foundation of trust. This would require handling personal data in a safe and transparent manner, establishing what behaviour and content is acceptable online, protecting against malicious actors, and securing the country’s digital infrastructure. Towards enhancing digital safety and security, the government is investing AUD 1.67 billion over 10 years through Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020. The government is seeking inputs on mechanisms to increase trustworthiness and transparency in handling data, including across borders.
- Digital-first Government: As a significant ICT procurer, the government aims to lead by example to drive Australia’s digital transformation. It can set rules and standards to secure benefits and manage risks, pave the way for others by adopting new digital technologies, and improve the customer experience of individuals and businesses engaging with its services. As a Digital-First Government, it will promote the use of digital technology, encourage collaboration and co-design with industry, and establish policies prioritising digital technology. It has allocated AUD 256 million to expand its Digital Identity Program and seeks input on agile regulation and policy design for new and emerging technologies.
- Lifting sectors through digital technology: The government seeks to enable technology solutions and uptake across all sectors to reap economic and strategic rewards. This will unlock productivity gains and create new products, markets and industries, growing jobs, income and export opportunities. For instance, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has been allocated AUD 1.6 billion to accelerate the development of technologies to cut emissions in sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and transport. The government is seeking inputs on technology and regulatory settings that can be used to encourage smart infrastructure development and use.
How Should Companies Respond?
Companies should consider submitting their responses to ensure that the perspective of industry is incorporated in Australia’s digital strategy. In their responses, companies can highlight upcoming trends, identify bottlenecks and hurdles to adoption of digital technologies, as well as providing suggestions for the harmonization of Australian regulations with global digital regulatory frameworks.
Access Partnership is closely monitoring all developments regarding the consultation and was recently recognized for its excellence in technological innovation and digital transformation at the AmChams of Asia Pacific Business Summit 2021. For more information, or to get involved in the consultation, please contact Seha Yatim, Senior Manager, Asia & US, at [email protected].