Staying true to both the scientific and business complexities Australia faces in unlocking the national interest benefits of quantum computing, Industry Minister Ed Husic has named a mix of eminent commercial and scientific leaders to a new National Quantum Advisory Committee.
Chaired by Australia’s chief scientist Cathy Foley, the 15-person committee will be a part of a push to coordinate the nation’s quantum capability across research, industry and government.
The committee would also help shape the national quantum strategy being developed by Dr Foley, which is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.
Delivering the prestigious Pearcey Foundation oration in Melbourne on Wednesday, Mr Husic compared the national ambitions and potential benefits of building a successful, globally focused quantum industry with the ambition and technological benefits of the original Snowy Hydro Scheme.
“We have a comparative advantage in building and commercialising quantum technologies,” Mr Husic said. “We need to ensure we embed quantum capability and value here in Australia, for the benefit of Australians.”
“The Snowy Scheme thrust us into the global spotlight for our engineering achievements. We need to think just as big,” he said, outlining the scale of the new money being made available for the quantum and other critical technologies through the National Reconstruction Fund.
The National Quantum Advisory Committee are:
- Professor Michael Biercuk, Q-CTRL, University of Sydney
- Ms Clare Birch, Blackbird Ventures
- Dr Simon Devitt, University of Technology, Sydney
- Professor Bronwyn Fox, CSIRO Chief Scientist
- Professor Lloyd Hollenberg, University of Melbourne IBM Quantum Hub
- Professor Andre Luiten, QuantX Labs
- Professor Tanya Monro, Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist
- Professor Ed Santow, Human Technology Institute, University of Technology, Sydney
- Dr Vikram Sharma, Quintessence Labs
- Professor Michelle Simmons, Silicon Quantum Computing, University of NSW
- Mr Mark Stickells, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre
- Professor Peter Turner, Sydney Quantum Academy
- Ms Jennifer Westacott, Business Council of Australia
- Professor Andrew White, University of Queensland and ARC Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems
“We are acknowledged as having some of the best minds in quantum anywhere in the world,” Mr Husic told the Pearcey Foundation.
“I want to ensure that the Australian quantum community is embedded in the global development of quantum technology – that we build a lasting and sustainable research community and support a thriving commercial industry right here in Australia,” he said.
“These goals will be backed by a National Quantum Strategy, built with wide involvement of those great minds and great companies we have in Australia.”
CSIRO conservatively estimates quantum technology in Australia could be a $4 billion industry in computing, communications and sensing, creating 16,000 jobs by 2040.
“Dr [Trevor] Pearcey thought Australia missed an opportunity in Australia to develop a flourishing digital computer industry. I want to make sure we don’t miss our own opportunity in quantum technology,” the minister said.
“Quantum technologies will transform communications, sensing and computing. They’ll enable new manufacturing possibilities, new drug treatments, new possibilities in foundational science. And I want the world to be watching us, from over there, and working with us – right here.”
“This is why this government is delivering Australia’s first National Quantum Strategy – bringing together our expertise in quantum research, commercialisation and use of quantum technologies to chart Australia’s future,” Mr Husic told the Pearcey Foundation dinner.
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