The Federal Government has announced a $2.4 billion investment into local research, science, and technology projects in an effort to spur digital innovation in the private sector and increase job opportunities for Australians.
Minister for Jobs and Innovation and Senator for Western Australia Michaelia Cash outlined the Government’s plan to boost the technological capability and competitiveness of Australian businesses and upskill the local workforce for a “transitioning economy”.
“We need our small and medium enterprises to be fast adopters of technology in order to stay globally competitive and grow,” Cash said in a statement.
As part of the digital innovation investment, the Federal Government also revealed it will reduce the tax for large enterprises and introduce “incentives to promote research, development and new technology” through the Research and Development Tax Incentive (R&DTI).
“We will ensure that taxpayer support for the R&DTI is fiscally affordable and crack down on R&D tax claims that push the boundaries of the R&DTI, with enhanced integrity, enforcement and transparency arrangements,” Cash said.
The investment will support a number of national research infrastructure projects, including the Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan, which the Government expects will “deliver cutting-edge digital infrastructure; more opportunities to skill our workforce; a new space agency; and measures to boost our export potential.”
“Investment in science and technology increases productivity, leading to more and better-paying jobs and makes Australian businesses more global” Cash said.
Measures under this plan include improvements to satellite navigation, which will receive a $224.9 million cash boost between 2018 and2019, as well as a $29.9 million disbursement to strengthen Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities in Australian businesses.
“This will include funding for Cooperative Research Centre Projects with a focus on artificial intelligence, and a national ethics framework to address standards and codes of conduct for adopting such technology in Australia,” as outlined in the 2018 Budget.