Govt to ‘go further’ on digital in budget


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told business leaders to expect more government investment in digital projects and skills development, promising there is “more to come” beyond the $800 million invested so far in developing Australia’s digital economy.

Mr Morrison has set a goal for Australia to become a global digital leader by 2030 but has framed the challenge as one of improving access and consumption of digital technology rather than innovation.

A Digital Technology Taskforce, housed within PM&C, was established in 2019 to inform Australia’s Digital Strategy and coordinate the whole of government digital business plan.

Scott Morrison has flagged further investments in digital projects and skills in an address to the BCA

So far, the Morrison Government has committed $800 million to measures it says are designed to help businesses take advantage of digital technologies, with the lion’s share going to amalgamating business registry data and the government’s digital identity programs.

In an address to the Business Council of Australia on Tuesday night, Mr Morrison referenced the $800 million delivered in last year’s budget and told business leaders “there’ll be more to come” in the lead up to the 11 May Budget.

“[We] are delivering on our strategy to make Australia a leading digital economy and society by 2030,” Mr Morrison said.

“Now we’ll have more to say about that between now and the Budget but tonight I just want to say COVID-19 we know accelerated the take up of digital technology and highlighted the role it can play to support and enhance business operations and the delivery of government services.

“And the Budget again will go further.”

The PM also flagged more investment in digital skills, including changes to the National Skills Agreement.

In January the Productivity Commission proposed a new national skills agreement, warning the targets of the existing National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development were “unrealistic” after a lack of government support.

The government acknowledged in January that the 2012 agreement was “overdue” for a refresh and began negotiating with states and territories on a replacement.

On Tuesday, Mr Morrison said digital skills will inform the next agreement.

“The next Skills Agreement will ensure we continue to deliver the skills for the future workforce, together helping businesses develop the skills they need to engage in the digital economy,” he said.

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2 Comments
  1. Aus Digital Battler 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    “$800 million invested so far in developing Australia’s digital economy”, what a stinker of a claim.

    How does funnelling all that money into American consultancy firms and software vendors get spun into an Australian investment?

    Anyone who works for Australian owned digital companies knows the sheer contempt and open hostility that the Morrison Government has towards them.

    Australian companies have long since given up on support from our own government, the most we hope for is that they don’t actively undermine the industry.

  2. Digital Koolaid 4 weeks ago
    Reply

    More of your $$$ to the DTA ? More cash to splash on no-bid contracts to the people we once worked for, or who we want to work for soon. More money for AIIA mates, and big-bigger-biggest consultants ? Morrison said digital skills will inform the next agreement ???? Those words have no meaning. Think about them. Digital skills “inform”. They don’t do anything. An investment that doesn’t do anything is an expenditure. The money goes away and no assets arrive. And “the Budget again will go further” – to disappearing your $$$. Watch the DTA closely, and keep your hand on your wallet.

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