The Federal Government targets 63 technologies for priority investment and advancement as part of its critical technologies action plan Blueprint; Australia to build a Centre of Excellence for digital in Indian tech hub, Bengaluru; and the NSW Government establishes a dedicated panel arrangement for sourcing private and community cloud services.
– The Federal Government has announced it will develop a $70 million Quantum Commercialisation Hub as part of a $111 million package to support the adoption and use of quantum technologies.
“The hub will be designed to attract private co-investment and to partner with equivalent bodies among like-minded nations. The first step is a joint cooperation agreement which the government has signed with the United States,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
The Government estimates that the development, commercialisation and adoption of quantum technologies could deliver $4 billion in economic value and create 16,000 new jobs by 2040 for Australia.
Launched as part of the Government’s Blueprint and Action Plan for Critical Technologies, the plan has identified quantum as one of nine tech priority focus areas for the Government.
The Blueprint sets out four goals for the country: access to critical technologies and secure systems; recognition as a trusted and secure partner in relation to critical technologies; preserving the integrity of local research to maximise sovereign IP; and supporting regional resilience and shaping an international environment that enables open, diverse, and competitive markets and secure and trusted technological innovation.
As part of the Blueprint, the Government has identified a list of 63 critical technologies in the national interest, with nine technologies singled out for initial focus, including quantum, blockchain, and 5G connectivity.
InnovationAus reports that technologies flagged on the list will potentially be further scrutinised by the Government to determine instances of foreign interference and investment.
“The new list and increased scrutiny on these technologies seems ostensibly aimed at China’s growing technology powers, and a further effort to discourse or block universities and researchers from collaborating with China on national security technologies, following changes to foreign investment laws earlier this year.”
– The Australian Government is set to establish a new Consulate-General and Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy in the Indian tech hub of Bengaluru.
The Government says its new Consulate-General “will focus on deepening Australia’s ties to India’s vibrant innovators, technologists and entrepreneurs”.
The multi-stakeholder Centre of Excellence will promote stronger investment opportunities and cutting-edge innovation in cyber, critical and emerging technologies, the Government said, bringing together Australian and Indian technologists, policy practitioners, academics, researchers and thought leaders.
Bengaluru is the world’s fourth-largest technology cluster, and home to a third of India’s unicorn companies.
– The NSW Government has created a dedicated panel arrangement for departments and agencies to source private or community cloud services for protected-level public sector data.
The ‘protective security policy framework zone three colocation services panel’ was established to complement existing services through Government Data Centre (GovDC) locations, iTnews reports.
The mandatory panel is only intended to be used “where an agency needs private or community cloud (or legacy self-hosted) with the security classification of protected”.
– The Federal Government is launching a new online tool to help businesses assess their digital maturity and digitise their operations.
The Digital Ready Assessment Tool will enable businesses to measure and upgrade their digital capability, compare themselves against their peers, and access government support programs.
“This tool will help businesses understand what their digital footprint is and how it compares to that of their competitors,” said Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price.
“The tool will include advice and guidance important to any small-to-medium sized business seeking to learn how they can use technology to increase their revenues, and to secure their digital presence and processes.”
– The Queensland Government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads alongside two Australian companies have completed a trial with electronic payments service eftpos, demonstrating real-world applications for digital identity, including rapid employee on-boarding and accreditation of credentials.
“The results confirm digital ID technology is ready to scale and deliver productivity, compliance and risk management benefits across any industry where verifying the skills and qualifications of an employee are essential – including health, aged care, manufacturing, transport, training and education and all forms of construction, repair and maintenance,” eftpos said in a statement.
Field trials were conducted with real-world workers employed by Powertech on mining, oil and gas, renewables, infrastructure and defence projects.
– Australia Post has introduced wearables for employees at letter and parcel sorting facilities to help with Covid-19 contact tracing and social distancing requirements.
The postal service said it had commenced a rollout of the locally made Smart Badge technology to support “faster and more accurate” Covid contact tracing.
It said the wearables provide “instant contact tracing, social distancing alerts and real-time data to manage site capacity”.
– Australia’s Home Affairs department has followed up on its earlier deal with Accenture, enlisting access management developer ForgeRock to support the delivery of its Australia’s Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) cards.
ForgeRock’s ‘enterprise-grade’ identity platform will be used to enable secure access to the new digital cards.
Digital Passenger Declaration cards are set to replace the longstanding physical incoming passenger card as well as the existing Covid-19 Australian Travel Declaration web form, “making it easier and safer for travellers to provide personal information from trusted sources, like internationally recognised Covid vaccination certificates”.
– DocuSign, an electronic signature e-contract management provider, has received a ‘Protected’ level accreditation for its eSignature platform the Australian Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP).
IRAP, and assessments conducted under the program, helps government agencies determine whether a company’s system has in place sufficient controls to process, store and transmit government data according to requirements set out in the Australian Government’s Information Security Manual (ISM).
“As the government, agencies and related industries continue to digitise their services to meet the needs of the public, we’re excited to be able to support them not just with DocuSign eSignature, but also the broader DocuSign Agreement Cloud,” said DocuSign’s Nick Slater, regional vice president of public sector.
– The Australian and New Zealand Governments are reviewing their Trans-Tasman Intellectual Property Attorneys Regulatory Regime, seeking public feedback on a new Regime.
The current regime has been in force for nearly five years and is due for revision.
– The Australian Research Council has announced the launch of its Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Smart Next Generation Transport Pavements (SPARC).
The SPARC, led by Monash University, will aim to reduce the road construction and maintenance costs of the Australian road network.
The Hub will receive $5 million in funding through the ARC over five years to support the portal.
“The SPARC Hub brings together researchers and industry to create innovative solutions that could potentially save Australia billions of dollars by making pavements smarter, longer-lasting, safer and with a lower environmental footprint,” Professor Thomas said.
– Following its MOU with the Australian Space Agency, the Tasmanian Government has announced a new Space Technology Seed Fund, co-investing with businesses to adapt, extend or develop new technology and services for the space economy.
Launching in the first quarter of 2022, the $500,000 fund will provide two rounds of competitive, matched grant funding to eligible Tasmanian businesses, including start-ups.