Sydney, May 4, 2016: The Federal Budget has delivered good news for jobs and skills in the digital sector, with the ACS – the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector – welcoming the Government’s commitment to the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), along with improved Fintech regulation, confirmed funding for Cybersecurity and support for SMEs.
“The announcement of the NISA in December 2015 was a pivotal moment for Australia’s digital future, and seeing the funding confirmed in last night’s budget delivers certainty and ensures these initiatives will help build a strong platform for Australia’s future” said ACS President Anthony Wong.
“We are also pleased to see a sensible approach to fintech regulation mentioned in the budget. The idea of having a regulatory sandbox will help encourage innovation and experimentation from new businesses, and recognises that disruption is driving the fintech space.” Mr Wong continued.
“The confirmation of funding for the Government’s recently announced Cybersecurity strategy is welcome, and in particular the strong focus on developing the critical IT skills needed in this sector. Cybersecurity is both a threat and opportunity in the digital economy and the ACS is pleased to see the high priority the Government is placing on this issue.”
Mr Wong also welcomed the modification to tax arrangements for SMEs and startups, many of which operate in the technology sector.
“With the growth of innovation and entrepreneurism we are seeing many more small businesses entering the market, the changes announced in the budget will no doubt be welcomed by many. It is important that we create an environment that encourages innovation and this reform is a part of that. The announcement this morning that the Senate has supported reforms to tax arrangements for early stage investors and venture capitalists demonstrates that the Parliament understand the importance of innovative businesses.”
“Additionally, delaying higher education reforms while further consultation is undertaken is welcome and should help ensure Australia moves to a sustainable, high quality tertiary sector which helps address the shortage of students studying technology degrees.”
Mr Wong also outlined the importance of developing digital skills for Australia’s existing workforce.
“There is an enormous opportunity for the Government to harness the potential of the existing workforce to become the digital workforce of the future. Our research (Australia’s Digital Pulse 2016) indicates that today’s employers are increasingly requiring skills in technology, and we urge the Government to collaborate with organisations such as the ACS, employers, industry and the academic sector to realise this opportunity”
“The announcements made surrounding the NISA are an excellent start, and with innovation supported by both sides of the Parliament this is a real opportunity to build a strong foundation for the digital economy.”
Thomas Shanahan, Australian Computer Society, 0449 902 130
About the ACS
The ACS is the professional association for Australia’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.