Insight,

Federal Budget May 2023-24: The digital economy

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The Government has adopted a significant focus in this Budget on supporting businesses to integrate quantum and AI technology into their operations, announcing a number of initiatives designed to support the commercialisation and responsible use of these critical technologies. The Government has also committed to several measures that will make it safer and easier for Australians to verify their identity and interact online.

Growing Australia’s critical technologies industries

The Government will provide $116.0 million over 5 years to support the development of critical technologies in Australia to drive economic growth, boost technology industries and support the creation of new jobs, by committing: 

  • $101.2 million over 5 years from 2022-23 to support businesses to integrate quantum and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies into their operations through:
    • establishing a Critical Technologies Challenge Program, which will support projects utilising critical technologies to solve significant national challenges - commencing with a focus on projects that utilise quantum computing;
    • extending the National AI Centre and its role in supporting responsible AI usage through developing governance and industry capabilities;
    • establishing an Australian Centre for Quantum Growth to support ecosystem growth and commercialisation in Australia’s quantum industry; and
    • supporting small and medium enterprises’ adoption of AI technologies to improve business processes and trade competitiveness; and
  • $14.8 million over 4 years from 2023-24 to establish the Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre, which will have a focus on developing advanced technology and skills as part of the Government’s Australian Made Battery Plan.

Supporting online safety

The Government will provide an additional $134.1 million over 4 years ($33.7 million per year, in addition to the existing base funding of $10.3 million per year) for the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to continue its support of Australians online through enhancing educational, outreach and investigatory activities.

Consumer Data Right

The Government will provide $88.8 million over two years from 2023–24 to support the continued operation of the Consumer Data Right in the banking, energy and non-bank lending sectors, progress the design of action initiation and uplift cyber security.

Fighting Scams

The Government will provide $86.5 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to combat scams and online fraud. Funding includes:

  • $58.0 million over 3 years from 2023–24 to establish the National Anti-Scam Centre within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to improve scam data sharing across government and the private sector and to establish public private sector Fusion Cells to target specific scam issues;
  • $17.6 million over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $4.4 million per year ongoing) for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to identify and take down phishing websites and other websites which promote investment scams, to be cost recovered through levies under ASIC’s industry funding model; and
  • $10.9 million over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $2.2 million per year ongoing) to the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts to establish and enforce an SMS sender ID registry to impede scammers seeking to spoof industry and government brand names in message headers.

Partial funding for this measure will be held in the Contingency Reserve pending further development of ICT system requirements for the National Anti-Scam Centre.

This measure builds on the 2022 23 October Budget measure titled Fighting Online Scams.

Digital ID program

The Government will provide $26.9 million to sustain and develop the next stage of the Digital ID program, with the intention of expanding the range of services that can be accessed using a digital ID. This investment includes:

  • $24.7 million for the Department of Finance and the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to maintain the current Digital ID system, as well as design the policy and legislative foundations to transition to an economy-wide Digital ID ecosystem with an independent regulator;
  • $1.1 million for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to provide ongoing privacy assurance for the Digital ID program; and
  • $1.1 million for the ATO for communications research associated with the myGovID brand.

Combatting misinformation and disinformation

The Government has also committed to providing $7.9 million over 4 years from 2023–24 for the Australian Communications and Media Authority to combat online misinformation and disinformation on global digital platforms in order to reduce the spread of harmful content.  

Federal Budget Panel Discussion

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