Industry groups welcome new tech ministers

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Industry and professional groups are confident the local technology sector will not be lost in Monday’s cabinet reshuffle, which saw Karen Andrews elevated from the Industry portfolio to Home Affairs and embattled coalition ministers moved to technology portfolios.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is confident government departments responsible for technology and digital services can withstand the turnover at the top because of established agendas, personnel and budgets.

“From our point of view, what we’re seeing is a continued prioritisation of technology,” AIIA chief executive Ron Gauci told InnovationAus.

Ron Gauci
Ron Gauci: We’re seeing is a continued prioritisation of technology

“We’re seeing that our industry still operates within quite a number of ministerial portfolios, including ongoing support with Stuart Robert with workforce and skills and small business.

“I just see that all this [reshuffle] does is add to the depth of exposure we have across the industries.”

Attorney-General Christian Porter will become the new Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the fifth person to hold the position in the five years and the seventh since the Coalition won government in 2013.

Linda Reynolds has been moved from the Defence portfolio to take over as Minister for Government Services, replacing Stuart Robert who moves to the Employment, Workforce and Skills portfolio.

Mr Gauci said the AIIA looks forward to speaking with new Industry Minister Christian Porter and new Government Services Minister Lynda Reynolds. He also welcomed the retention of the Digital Economy portfolio by Senator Jane Hume.

The Australian Computer Society has also welcomed the new leadership.

“With technology critical to Australia’s economic growth as the nation recovers from the effects of COVID-19, we look forward to working with Minister Porter and his team in developing government policies to boost the ICT sector,” said ACS chief executive Rupert Grayston in a statement.

Mr Grayston also thanked outgoing Minister Karen Andrews for her support and efforts over the past two and a half years.

The AIIA expects responsibility for the DTA to remain in the Social Services portfolio with its new minister Ms Reynolds. Again, Mr Gauci is confident in the agency’s “well and truly entrenched” budget, processes, agenda will provide stability amid new leadership.

“We don’t see that that change in minister will change what the DTA does and how it does it,” he said.

“Given that the budgets and the strategic plan are well and truly in place and in motion we look forward to continuing working with the DTA in the execution of that.”

The AIIA has been collaborating with the DTA officially since 2018 and signed a new three-year memorandum of understanding in March this year to “achieve better outcomes for people and businesses using government digital services” including improving skills in the ICT industry.

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