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Federal Budget May 2024-25: The digital economy

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The Government has adopted a significant focus in this Budget on its ‘Future Made in Australia’ strategy to champion growth and investment in Australia’s digital capabilities. The Government continues its commitment to safe and responsible development and deployment of AI technologies, also introducing several measures that will make it safer and easier for Australians to verify their identity and transact online.

Future made in Australia

The Government will provide $1.7 billion funding over ten years from 2024-25 for investments in innovation, science and digital capabilities to support a Future Made in Australia. Funding includes:

  • $466.4 million for a financing package of equity and loans provided to PsiQuantum Pty Ltd to support the construction and operation of the world’s first commercial‑scale quantum computer in Brisbane and associated investment in industry and research development as part of a joint investment with the Queensland Government.
  • $448.7 million to partner with the United States in the Landsat Next satellite program to provide access to critical data to monitor the earth’s climate, agricultural production, and natural disasters, and $145.4 million for the National Measurement Institute to support its core scientific capabilities. To support improved diversity in education and industry, the Government will an additional $38.2 million to fund a range of STEM programs.

Responsible AI

To support the safe and responsible development and deployment of AI technologies, the Government will invest $39.9 million to progress Australia’s regulatory response and release a National Robotics Strategy to promote the responsible production and adoption of robotics and automation technologies in Australia.

Digital ID

The Government will invest $288.1 million to further deliver and expand Australia’s Digital ID System so more Australians can realise Digital ID’s economic and privacy benefits. This investment includes:

  • $155.6 million to the Australian Taxation Office to continue improving the Government’s Digital ID, myGovID, and additional systems.
  • $46.0 million to Services Australia to continue operating and improving the identity exchange which enables transactions across the Australian Government Digital ID System.
  • $35.2 million to the Department of Finance to continue policy leadership and governance of the Digital ID program.
  • $23.4 million over two years from 2024–25 for the ATO, Department of Finance and Services Australia to pilot the use of government digital wallets and verifiable credentials.

Fighting scams

The Government has built on its efforts in the 2023-24 Budget to combat scams and online fraud through a $67.5 million investment to introduce mandatory industry codes to be established under a Scams Code Framework. The commitment comprises:

  • $37.3 million over four years (and $8.6 million per year ongoing) for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Communications and Media Authority to administer mandatory industry codes for regulated businesses to address scams on their platforms and services, targeting: telecommunications, banks digital platforms, services relating to social media, paid search engine advertising and direct messaging.
  • $23.3 million over four years for the Australian Taxation Office to continue overseeing the secure eInvoicing network.
  • $6.3 million in 2024–25 for the ACCC to improve public awareness of scams and help the public to identify, avoid and report scams.
  • $1.6 million over two years for the Treasury to legislate the overarching Scams Code Framework.

Modernising digital assets and payments regulation

The Government will provide $7.5 million over four years to update regulatory frameworks for financial services and improve consumer protections for services enabled by new technology, including to:

  • consult on legislation to licence and regulate platforms that hold digital assets;
  • continue exploratory work on Central Bank Digital Currencies, asset tokenisation and decentralised finance; and
  • introduce a new regulatory framework for payment service providers (including digital wallets and electronic stored value providers), including licensing and a mandated ePayments Code.

Cyber security of regulators and improving registers

The Government has earmarked $206.4 million of funding over four years (and $7.2 million per year ongoing) to:

  • improve the data capability and cyber security of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission; and
  • to continue the stabilisation of business registers and modernisation of legacy systems.

Technology foreign interference taskforce

The Government will also provide $4.2 million over four years (and $0.9 million per year ongoing) to establish a Technology Foreign Interference Taskforce, led by the Department of Home Affairs, to work with Australia’s technology sector to protect sensitive and proprietary information from espionage, sabotage, and foreign interference.

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