Government’s post-COVID plan for tech growth

The rate in which Australian businesses have successfully adapted to the changing environment has led the Federal Minister of Industry, Science & Technology to establish a new group to strengthen the country’s transition to a digital economy.  

Hon. Karen Andrews MP established the Digital Economy and Technology Senior Officials Group and convened its inaugural meeting via video conference earlier this month.

Building upon the business community’s momentum and the current collaborative environment between the Federal & State governments, the Group’s aim is to collectively lift the digital capability of Australian business and contribute to making Australia a world-leading digital economy by 2030.

With tens of thousands of businesses having already migrated to digital solutions in order to support staff, address operational challenges and continue serving customers in a matter of months, the group will be looking to harness many of these digital advances and develop policies to assist more businesses in their transition.

“The national cabinet with the Prime Minister and premiers has shown what we can achieve through greater collaboration between levels of government”, Ms Andrews told The Australian Financial Review.

It is certainly a move that is well supported by the tech industry. Australia’s recovery and future economy will rely heavily on technology-driven, value-added services that have a global customer base.

While the business case is well understood within the start-up world, it’s also supported by broader commercial research. The Government’s website cites a study that shows that small businesses can save 10 hours per week by using digital tools and revenues boosted by 27 per cent. Collectively, this amounts to 22 million hours saved per week and an additional $385 billion per year in revenue across all Australian small businesses.

The next steps for the newly established Group are to map the digital economy policies and business support services needed to accelerate the digitisation and resilience of businesses in response to COVID-19.

They will also develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Autonomous Systems Capability Map to identify areas of strength and expertise to drive greater collaboration domestically and inform the promotion of Australia as a key location for research and development, and commercialisation in these areas.

Ministers agreed to meet three times per year to track the growth of Australia’s digital economy and technology ecosystem, and for regular reporting on the work of the senior officials group.

As specialists in Government Incentives, CharterNet welcomes this step to support the Australian technology community. Advising some of our country’s fastest-growing companies, we understand how valuable government grants including the R&D Tax Incentive, the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) and Early Stage Innovation Company (ESIC) status are from a cashflow perspective in encouraging greater innovation outcomes that flow through to the broader economy.

We have been impressed by the ingenuity of many business leaders to solve problems in this rapidly changing environment and believe with the right support, Australia’s technology start-ups will be at the forefront of the post-COVID recovery.