ACT budget: $22.4m for Future Jobs innovation initiative

Brandon How

The Australian Capital Territory budget for 2022-23 sets aside $22.4 million for its Future Jobs Fund amid several other commitments to innovation and technology developments in the territory, including new money for digital delivery programs.

The Future Jobs Fund was initially founded in the 2020-21 territory budget with a commitment of $9.2 million over two years. Part of the capital cost of the Future Jobs Fund will be offset by $5 million in capital provisions from the 2020-21 territory budget.

According to the budget papers, the Future Jobs Fund will support the development of knowledge intensive sectors, the commercialisation of research, investment attraction and facilitation, development of the territory’s innovation ecosystem, and the creation of new businesses and jobs.

Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr. Image: ABC News

Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr outlined the territory’s priority sectors for investment.

“In the coming years, jobs and skills demand will be highest in health and the care economy, IT, advanced manufacturing, education and training, and professional services. This Budget invests in those jobs by directly hiring and investing in skills development and partnerships with industry and education providers,” Mr Barr said.

$50.8 million over four years to support the implementation of a new Digital Health Record (DHR). This will also fund participation in training and implementation for frontline health services staff activities, as well as providing funding for related ongoing expenses. The digital health record will be implemented in late 2022.

Also included is $31.2 million to help fund a transport interchange adjacent to the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Woden campus, which is currently under construction.

There is also a more than $31 million net commitment to the ‘better digital services’ initiative to improve government digital services. This includes around $800,000 to introduce e-invoicing for the ACT Government.

Further digital government services support commitments include a further $21.4 million for the ACT Digital Platform, which facilitates communications and transactions with the territory government and $16.4 million for an updated digital planning system.

To support decarbonisation, $6.2 million has been committed to purchase 90 electric buses and charging infrastructure in, there is also more than $11.6 million in net commitments to support the implementation of the Zero Emissions Vehicles Strategy.

A commitment to innovation is included in the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate strategic indicators. In particular, the territory government is committed to supporting “private sector growth and economic diversification with a target of reaching a labour force in the ACT of 250,000 by 2025”.

The budget papers also commit the Directorate to implementing strategies the territory’s knowledge, creativity, and innovation to “attract investment that grows local research and development and support and accelerate the growth of local businesses”. It is also committed to promoting export development through international engagement and trade activities.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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