Federal budget 2021: Federal govt to create $1.2b digital economy fund

The federal government will fund a new digital economy initiative. Picture: Shutterstock
The federal government will fund a new digital economy initiative. Picture: Shutterstock

The emerging and potentially lucrative field of digital business is being put firmly in the frame of Australia's economic recovery from COVID-19 with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing a $1.2 billion Digital Economy Strategy for Australia to put "our foot on the digital accelerator".

The pre-budget announcement adds to $800 million worth of measures in the previous federal budget and targets merging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing. There are also measures to manage drones, build digital skills and encourage business investment.

"One of our biggest challenges and opportunities turns on how we respond to the digital transformation occurring in every sector and every facet of our lives," Mr Morrison is expected to tell the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne .

Listing popular business apps such as AirTasker and UberEats, the Prime Minister said: "Every business in Australia is now a digital business."

"We must keep our foot on the digital accelerator to secure our economic recovery from COVID-19."

As part of the strategy, the federal government is providing $53.8 million in funding to CSIRO/Data61 to create a National Artificial Intelligence Centre to help drive the development and adoption of AI technologies.

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The Victorian government announced in 2019 that it was putting $1 million towards hosting such a centre in Melbourne. Federal Labor had promised to establish a centre if elected.

The government is also funding aviation technologies such as drones and electric engines.

There's an Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships to provide $32.6 million in funding through competitive grants and $1.5 million to begin planning a National Drone Detection Network.

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This story Federal govt to create $1.2b digital economy fund first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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