National quantum strategy with government


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

A final draft of Australia’s first national quantum strategy is written and with government for consideration, with a public release expected within weeks. The chief scientist finished the plan on schedule last year, handing it to Industry and Science minister Ed Husic in mid-December.

The minister’s office confirmed on Monday that it is still considering the draft strategy ahead of a public release.

Originally a Coalition initiative, Mr Husic threw his support behind the strategy, the national quantum sector and the “heroes” working in it by making it a key plank of the new government’s technology push.

Industry minister Ed Husic with Australian quantum leader Michelle Simmons

The former government announced in late 2021 it had asked Australia’s chief scientist Dr Cathy Foley to develop the nation’s first national quantum strategy after years of policy drift and falling sovereign investment.

Dr Foley set about developing a national plan that capitalised on Australia’s quantum research lead, recognising success could support economic prosperity, social cohesion, and national security.

The chief scientist, whose breakthrough work on high temperature superconducting devices at CSIRO in the 1990s helped establish Australia’s quantum foundations, spent most of the year engaging directly with the local sector.

A mix of eminent commercial and scientific leaders were appointed to a National Quantum Advisory Committee in September to help shape the strategy and coordinate the government’s wider quantum push.

The national strategy’s public consultation in October revealed seven key objectives and potential policy initiatives of the plan and its aim for a “thriving environment” spanning research, commercialisation and use of the transformative technology.

Throughout the process Dr Foley has been a strong advocate of the potential of quantum technologies – which the CSIRO says could create a $6 billion, 19,400 job industry – after decades of local research and development. But she has also warned of the challenges of commercialising and scaling the technology.

The national plan to address the challenge and capitalise was handed to the Albanese government on December 16, the Office of the Chief Scientist told InnovationAus.com.

“The release date of the strategy is a decision for government,” a spokesperson said.

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