AIIA calls for govt department to coordinate tech policy

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 02 February, 2024

AIIA calls for govt department to coordinate tech policy

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has urged the federal government to establish an independent government body to coordinate the implementation of technology-focused strategies such as the national robotics, AI, cyber and quantum strategies.

In its pre-Budget submission to the Treasury, the AIIA said the proposed independent, central government body should be tasked with coordinating the implementation of these and other initiatives being explored by the current government. These include the review of MyGov by former Telstra CEO David Thodey, as well as anticipated changes in areas such as the National Robotics Strategy.

According to the submission, without the establishment of such a government body, there is a high risk of poor implementation of these strategies. The IT industry is already dealing with inconsistent messaging from various government departments in areas such as AI regulation, the submission argues. In addition, the industry has been frustrated by various strategies and action plans having failed to survive government transitions, leading to resource wastage and missed opportunity costs.

The proposed government body would help enable a stable policy environment and help government coordinate the implementation and coordination of newly launched initiatives, the submission argues.

The AIIA has also used its submission to call for the formation of an industry-focused policy designed to help Australian scale-up companies access funding for growth and create jobs within the country. This could involve establishing a Federal Digital Innovation Project Fund, which would prioritise support for Australian innovation and SMEs, the submission argues. Another recommendation involves ensuring the government invests in AI commercialisation projects.

Finally, the AIIA has recommended that the government implement a skills-focused strategy to address the ongoing skills shortage while mitigating disruptions in a changing job market.

As part of this recommendation, the AIIA reiterated its call for the implementation of a nationally recognised lifelong learning framework and associated ‘skills passport’ that would seek to capture digital skills across VET, university and micro-credential certification.

The AIIA also recommended that some of the funding allocated for the JobKeeper payment scheme be put towards training credits for employers to re-skill their workforce in critical technical skills.

“In our fast-moving industry, any delays in implementing strategies and funding to industry in Australia will cause a serious disadvantage to the economy,” said AIIA CEO Simon Bush. “The government needs a new way of working, with the aim of increasing agility and speed of execution between strategy and identified industry and citizen needs. We need to move to actioning the plans and put in a system that drives the momentum of digital transformation.”

The full statement can be found here.

Image credit: Onphalai

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