Applications are now open for grants for blockchain projects that demonstrate how the technology can reduce compliance costs for business.
The Industry department will administer funding of up to $3 million each for two pilot projects that explore the potential of the ‘immutable record technology’ in the critical minerals and the food and beverage sectors.
The pilots were first revealed in last year’s budget as part of the government’s million Digital Business Plan.
The first pilot aims to demonstrate how blockchain technology can help critical minerals businesses get more of their products to international markets by improving supply chain integrity.
The project will need to demonstrate how blockchain could contribute to the Critical Minerals National Ethical Certification Scheme currently being developed by the Department of Industry.
The second pilot will test blockchain’s potential to improve food and beverage provenance. The pilot should demonstrate how blockchain can reduce the compliance burdens of excise tax regulations throughout spirit production and supply.
According to the application form, the objectives of the program are to reduce compliance costs, ensure buy in from regulators, improve blockchain literacy, develop solutions for government and support the inclusion of blockchain in broader policy work.
Projects need to include a pro and con comparison of the emerging technology against non-blockchain options and demonstrate how blockchain adds value “beyond merely being a process of digitisation”.
Applications are now being accepted from either businesses or a publicly funded research organisations. Applicants must also include at least one project partner.
In 2020 the government released a blockchain roadmap outlining how it planned to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the technology. However, pats of the local industry criticised the roadmap as “disappointing” and lacking vision.
Last year the government included nearly $5 million for the blockchain pilots in its $574 million Digital Business Plan.
The maximum project period for the blockchain pilots is 9 months and must be completed by April 30, 2022.
Applications close at 5pm on April 29, 2021. Successful applicants will be chosen by a manager within the Department of Industry’s AusIndustry division.