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3 things the Tech Council likes about the 2023 federal budget

The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) has welcomed federal budget announcements supporting skilled migration, cybersecurity and a new commercialization fund.

TCA CEO Kate Pounder said Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ measures were in line with priorities in the Council’s pre-budget submission.

“The budget takes important steps to address the major challenges facing our country, including skills shortages, the growth of new industries and jobs, and strengthening cybersecurity,” she said.

After budgeting nearly $200 million from the Entrepreneurs Program late last year and then today ending the former government’s Accelerating Commercialization grant program, that funding reappeared as the The $392 million Industry Growth Program announced tonight, which is being created as an early-stage grant program to support companies for later investments from the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.

“Australia has global strengths in critical technology areas such as quantum, AI and robotics, and the measures announced in the budget will support our technology businesses to commercialize and scale globally,” said Pounder.

“The creation of the new Industry Growth Program will help kickstart early stage commercialization in strategic industries and grow Australian startups. We welcome the adoption of an end-to-end approach connecting the project pipeline of this program to the National Reconstruction Fund.

After releasing Australia’s first national quantum strategy last week, the government is now looking to get the wider business community on board by providing an additional $101 million over the next five years for companies to integrate quantum and AI technologies into their operations.

“The government’s investments in quantum and AI, including the new national quantum computing challenge program and the $3.4 billion Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator in the defense portfolio, are important first steps towards achieving the vision outlined in the recently released National Quantum Strategy.” Pounder said.

With the Albanian government on board and the TCA’s goal of having 1.2 million tech workers by 2030, the Tech Council boss welcomed the additional funding for visa processing, nearly $28 million over two years to fund existing visa ICT systems, and passing an election pledge to raise the Temporary Income Threshold for Skilled Migration (TSMIT) from $53,900 to $70,000 starting July 1.

“Australian companies from all parts of the economy continue to struggle to find experienced technical workers in technical roles such as software engineering and cybersecurity,” said Pounder.

“That is why we fully support the migration reform plan that Home Secretary Clare O’Neil set out last month.”

“Visa processing times are a real pain point that make Australia less competitive than countries like Israel and Canada. Therefore, we are pleased to see the government continue to invest in this area.

“While domestic training and reskilling remain the primary avenues for workers to enter the tech sector, migration is critical to fill gaps in technical, experienced positions and to train Australian talent.”

Pounder said the TCA behind the gthe government’s goal of making Australia the most cyber-secure country in the world.

“We strongly support the investment in expanding the digital identity system across the economy, which is one of the most important steps the government can take to protect Australians’ data,” she said.

“The establishment of the new Coordinator and National Bureau of Cybersecurity is an important reform that has the potential to significantly improve the way we respond to major cyber incidents and lessons learned.”

“We also welcome the additional investment in tackling SMS scams and strengthening the resources of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to improve compliance with privacy laws across the economy.”

READ NOW: Budget 2023: what you need to know and what it all entails at a glance


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